Nobel Peace laureates call on Harper to stop tar sands expansion
Eight Nobel Peace Laureates today sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling on him to ensure that Canada moves towards a clean energy future—and halts the expansion of the tar sands.
In their letter, the Laureates—which include Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South Africa), Jody Williams (USA), President Ramos Horta (Timor) and Shirin Ebadi (Iran)—argue that it will take strong leadership to make the tough choices required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. They note that this is a “profoundly moral decision—one that deserves to be placed alongside any other major struggle in human history”.
The Canadian tar sands have been called a ‘ticking carbon bomb’ by NASA scientist James Hansen, who also says that if they were exploited as projected it would be ‘game over for the climate.’
The letter comes two days after Canadians from across the country gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to risk arrest in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience to protest the rapid expansion of the tar sands and Prime Minister Harper’s inaction on climate change. The Laureates recognize the power of peaceful civil disobedience in advancing many of the great moral challenges in human history.
The Laureates told the Prime Minister that Canada is well positioned to be a leader in the fight against climate change, and noted that the Province of Ontario is scheduled to phase out the use of coal by 2014, and has adopted “what is probably the single most effective piece of legislation promoting renewable energy in North America”.
Two weeks ago, the Laureates also wrote to US President Barack Obama, calling upon him to reject the permit for a pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Alberta through the US to the Gulf of Mexico. The Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent US environmental group, recently published the letter as a full-page ad in the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Both letters were coordinated by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, an Ottawa-based organization created by women Nobel Peace Laureates to support women around the world working on climate justice and other issues related to peace and security.
Submitted. The complete letter is attached to this article.