Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ah, I Can Feel It Working

From over at IPS:
In recent weeks, Greenpeace has staged three daring protests inside tar sands mines, temporarily shutting down parts of the world's largest energy project. On Oct. 3 and 4, activists blocked construction of an upgrader needed to refine heavy tar sands oil, belonging to Shell in Ft. Saskatchewan, Alberta.
Civil disobedience from Greenpeace, leading to 37 arrests, has enraged Alberta's conservative government. "We're coddling people who are breaking the law," complained Premier Ed Stelmach during a media scrum in early October.
"Premier Stelmach's public suggestion that he will use the 'force of the law to deal with these people' confirms his lack of knowledge of the limits of his authority and the clear rule that our system of justice cannot be interfered with or manipulated for political reasons," responded Brian Beresh, the defence lawyer representing arrested activists, at a news conference in Edmonton.

This is one of the uses of civil disobedience--like one of the uses of terrorism--to provoke those in power into over-reacting and doing something stupid that makes the instigator's point for them. Like the US after 9-11 made Al Qaeda's point that they were an imperial power by invading Iraq, the Alberta government is going to make Greenpeace's point for them. They are actually threatening to use anti-terrorism legislation to shut down civil disobedience at the tar sands.
"Canada's tar sands will singlehandedly produce more greenhouse gas emissions than Denmark, Ireland, Austria or Portugal by 2020 if the development continues expanding at its current rate, according to a recent report written by award-winning business reporter Andrew Nikiforuk. The tar sands already spew more greenhouse gas emissions than Estonia or Lithuania", the article continues.
It's not like Greenpeace stands alone on this; the head of the IPCC has also said that the tar sands should be shut down.
Keep in mind that this Saturday--October 24th--is 350 day, the international day of climate action. The 350 refers to the accepted maximum concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere--the number we've blown past already. Last I checked, we were at 385. Write an MP, get out and be counted, ride a bike, whatever. Check the website for ideas. In Victoria, there will be a day of activities at Centennial Square on Saturday.

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