The Guardian[1] has called it “the largest act of civil disobedience in US history”.  Following calls for Tim de Christopher’s imprisonment[2] to be the US climate movement’s ‘Rosa Parks[3] moment’, Tar Sands Action[4] has mobilised thousands of people for an act of collective civil disobedience in a continuous two-week sit-in in front of the White House. The call to action also drew two major unions[5], representing 200,000 US workers across 22 states into the call to stop the pipeline.

This could be a break-through for the international campaign to stop the expansion of the Canadian tar sands. The US is a key market for the Canadian tar sands, and numerous refineries are located there.  Public pressure opposing the tar sands could derail expansion plans.

Europe is a second key market, and Canada has been lobbying the EU[6] to accept its tar sands exports. Here in the UK grassroots activists including the UK Tar Sands Network[7] and Climate Camp[8] have taken action in solidarity with the Indigenous Environmental Network[9] who campaign to stop all further expansion.  PLATFORM has pushed for RBS to change its lending policy[10] around tar sands companies, and worked with institutional investors[11] to shift equity finance[12] out of the tar sands.

Endnotes:
  1. Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/aug/14/canada-tar-sands-keystonexl
  2. Tim de Christopher’s imprisonment: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/a-rosa-parks-moment-climate-activist-tim-dechristopher-sentenced-to-prison-20110727
  3. Rosa Parks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_parks
  4. Tar Sands Action: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/
  5. two major unions: http://www.khastv.com/news/local/National-labor-unions-protest-XL-Pipeline-128100293.html
  6. lobbying the EU: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/04/canada-tar-sands-lobbying?intcmp=122
  7. UK Tar Sands Network: http://www.no-tar-sands.org/2011/08/sending-our-love-to-washington-dc/
  8. Climate Camp: http://climatecamp.org.uk/actions/bp-fortnight-of-shame-2010
  9. Indigenous Environmental Network: http://www.ienearth.org/news/indigenous-peoples-civil-disobedience-to-halt-dirty-tar-sands-pipeline-in-us.html
  10. lending policy: https://www.platformlondon.org/carbonweb/documents/ciots.pdf
  11. institutional investors: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/files/pdfs/climate/RisingRisks.pdf
  12. equity finance: http://www.fairpensions.org.uk/tarsands/moreinfo