Cancun Climate Delegates Told “Gracias Por Nada” — Mock Pro-Tar Sands Message Greets First Day of Climate Talks

Yesterday we kicked off the UN climate conference by bringing the Cancun climate to Ottawa. Okay, not the warmth or the real beach, but there was a beach scene set up on Parliament Hill featuring  a new drink – Tropical Tailings – beach chairs, flip flops and Mexican party music.

A representative of the “Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers” provided a pre-departure briefing for the Canadian delegation headed to Cancun. His main message? Sit back, enjoy the beach, do nothing that would hamper tar sands growth.

The event was part of the Gracias Por Nada work that CYCC and Environmental Defence have teamed up on. We’re running a full-page ad in the Cancun newspaper, handing out t-shirts to delegates and reaching out online to make sure people know that tar sands is holding Canada, and other countries, back from getting serious about global warming.

Check out the actual campaign!

Check out the Sierra Youth Coalition’s Write-up about this action, as well as it’s awesome shout out to CYD’ers!

Here is the press release that went out yesterday as well!

Ottawa and Cancun – Today, on the opening day of the U.N. climate conference in Cancun, Environmental Defence and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition launched “Gracias Por Nada,” a campaign by the mock Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers to thank delegates for doing nothing to tackle global warming.

“We’re using humour to bring attention to a serious issue.  Canada needs to get its head out of the sand and stop pandering to dirty oil interests,” said Gillian McEachern of Environmental Defence. “Big oil companies stand to benefit from inaction to tackle global warming, but the rest of us will face an increasingly unstable and dangerous world if we don’t get our act together.”

The “Gracias Por Nada” campaign involves several activities by the Canadian Alliance of Petroleum Peddlers including:
–  A full-page ad in Novedades de Quintana Roo, the largest newspaper in Cancun, urging delegates at the U.N. climate conference to put their feet up and relax on the beach
–  A beach scene on Parliament Hill where oil executives will demonstrate ‘doing nothing’ in Cancun
–  Distribution of hundreds of t-shirts to delegates in Cancun reading “I came to Cancun to get a climate deal and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”
–  Online ads targeting the Cancun region

“As youth, it’s our future that Canada is gambling with,” said Amber Church of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. “We’ve sent a delegation of dozens of youth to push our government to stop protecting the tar sands industry and start investing in a clean energy future.”

Extracting and burning all of the estimated 315 billion barrels of potentially recoverable tar sands oil would put roughly 183 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, enough to raise the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by 9-12 parts per million if burned all at once. This is more than 26 years of total U.S. emissions.

If tar sands production expands at the rate predicted by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, tar sands oil will produce about 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each day, and over 800 million tonnes each year by 2025. The tar sands industry would be responsible for more emissions than entire countries like Canada, the U.K., Australia and France currently produce.

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For more information, or to arrange an interview in Ottawa or Cancun, contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence,, 416-323-9521 ext. 232, 647-280-9521 (cell)
Sarah Jane Saksa, Canadian Youth Climate Coalition,, 519-520-4073

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