2018 is a crunch time for decisions on new oil pipelines which, if agreed, would open up untapped tar sands reserves across the US and Canada and provide an affordable and reliable means of transporting new oil for decades to come. The production and use of the oil these pipelines help produce will use over 15% of the world’s entire carbon budget proposed in the 2015 Paris climate conference to keep global temperatures within 1.5C limit, making the target impossible to meet.
Tar sands are a mixture of mostly sand, clay, water and a thick substance called bitumen (which is essentially tar). Once the bitumen is separated, oil is produced. The extensive mining and water used to separate the thick substance means that tar sands produce around 20% more greenhouse gas emissions than regular oil, making it one of the dirtiest forms of oil production.
One of the pipelines key to this campaign is the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project, the proposed route of which runs from Edmonton in Alberta to Vancouver in British Columbia. As well as the impact on climate change, the Kinder Morgan pipeline will also affect the land, water and livelihoods of indigenous peoples in the region as well as a rare sub-species of orcas found off the waters of Vancouver.
A major bank in the UK is also Europe’s biggest investor in pipelines – it is funding all proposed pipelines including Kinder Morgan and is also a lender to Energy Transfer Partners (who built the Dakota Access pipeline and are suing Greenpeace US and Canada for campaigning against these plans).
Barclays Bank Albion St is half way between the Big Boots & Waterstones book shop on Albion St