BP Fortnight of Shame

The BP Fortnight of Shame is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action to force BP to reverse their crazy plans to move into Canada’s tar sands. It runs between the annual Fossil Fools Day on April 1st, which in recent years has seen a flurry of action against the fossil fuels industry, and BP’s Annual General Meeting on April 15th. Grassroots groups across the UK, in solidarity with First Nations indigenous peoples, will be taking action to stop BP's deadly plans in their tracks. This will include a global day of action on Saturday 10th April. All are encouraged to get involved.

Why Tar Sands?

Attempts to avert the planet from sliding into climate crisis are being threatened by a single massive project in the Canadian wilderness. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil are being extracted every day, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil. The extraction process is immensely resource-intensive, currently using enough natural gas every day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Add to this the mass deforestation the projects are causing, ridding us of desperately needed carbon sinks, then it becomes clear this project cannot be allowed to continue if we are serious about preventing runaway climate change.

The effects tar sands are having on local First Nations indigenous communities are devastating. The tar sands development in Alberta covers an area the size of England, with toxic tailing ponds so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

Why BP?

BP are the only major oil company with no tar sands extraction projects currently in operation. This is about to change. Since 2007, BP have quietly ditched the 'Beyond Petroleum' sham, because investing in renewables simply wasn't making them enough profit. They have decided to go Back to Petroleum, with a vengeance, under the leadership of new Chief Executive Tony Hayward.

Moving into tar sands was one of the first steps Tony Hayward took, acquiring a half share in the Sunrise Project with Husky Energy. The Sunrise Project will be huge, producing 200,000 barrels of filthy oil a day, and using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), an extraction process even more energy and water intensive than the more visible surface-mining operations.

The recession has given us a window of opportunity. BP have been forced to postpone their final decision on whether to go ahead until the second half of 2010. This means it is not too late for us to stop this outrageous project. BP are desperate for Sunrise to go ahead, and will certainly not go down without a fight, but with effective and sustained action we can win this one.
What can I do?

Local groups across the UK, from Brighton to Scotland, are already engaged in plotting and planning for the Fortnight of Shame. If your local group isn't already planning something, then get suggesting ideas. If you haven't already got a local group, then check out the local groups that form the Camp for Climate Action network. All are open to everyone to join.