Don’t Give in to Tar Sands

Tar Sands Protest Display

Target: European Commission President José Manuel Barroso

Goal: Reinstate plan to label dirty tar sands as “highly polluting” in the EU

The European Union has dropped a plan to have environmentally disastrous tar sands labeled as “highly polluting” so that they can import it from Canada. High tensions with Russia, the EU’s primary oil supplier, have convinced the European Commission to abandon the plan to implement this label, proving that addiction to oil has reached new heights.

Tar sands have been nicknamed “dirty oil”–as though oil wasn’t dirty enough–due to the fact that the extraction process uses more water and produces more carbon dioxide that conventional oil production. Not only does it pollute the fragile environment of the Canadian North, where many species are already threatened by human activities, it creates more of the greenhouse gases that are causing man-made climate change. At a time when an increasing amount of reports are emerging that show how climate change is even worse than we feared, this is an unacceptable decision for the EU to make.

Failing to label tar sands as highly polluting is dishonest at best, but using that dishonesty to import tar sands is going in the opposite direction if we want to limit the effects of climate change. If fuel access is a problem, the EU should be looking into clean alternative fuels, not resorting to increasing demand for dirty oil. Sign this petition to urge the EU to continue with their plan to give tar sands the label it deserves.


Dear President Borroso,

According to one of your recent proposals, a plan to label tar sands as “highly polluting” has been abandoned in order to allow the European Union to import this fuel from Canada. Although I understand that recent issues with Russia have put a strain on resources that many people rely on, I urge you to look into alternatives to something that has been nicknamed “dirty oil.”

The EU has already recognized that climate change is taking place and that humans are responsible for the disastrous effects. If you are truly committed to combating climate change, then you must realize that increasing the demand for tar sands by importing it from Canada is the last thing you should do. Extracting tar sands is even worse for the environment and creates more harmful greenhouse gases than extracting conventional oil, and will worsen the effects that are killing both humans and animals and hurting your economy.

Declining to label tar sands as “highly polluting” is incredibly dishonest. You can’t abandon the cause of fighting climate change every time it becomes inconvenient. I urge you to invest in clean alternative fuels rather than allowing dirty tar sands to be imported into your nations. You must not sacrifice the Earth and future generations just so you can take the easy path.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Grant Neufel via Flickr

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