Norwegian Grandparents speak out against the Tar Sands


On April 6th , Alberta’s largest daily newspaper, Edmonton Journal, will carry a message from the Norwegian Grandparents Climate Action to the citizens of Canada. The Grandparents‘ Climate Action (Besteforeldreaksjonen), a network of about 2000 concerned elders, represents a broad spectrum of Norwegian society, such as former members of Parliament as well as former Cabinet ministers, bishops, scientists, authors and judges. Thanks to the generous response from its network, the Grandparents’ Climate Action is bringing to the attention of the Canadian people its opposition to the investment in the Alberta Tar Sands by Statoil, which is principally owned by the Governemnt of Norway . This response also serves to confirm that responsible Norwegian citizens will not be silent witnesses to crimes against all our grandchildren.

Text of the Advertisement

We, the undersigned Norwegian citizens, want Canadian citizens to know that the environmental movement of Norway is unanimous in its condemnation of the ongoing tar sands extraction in Alberta, due to the devastating impact on wildlife and boreal forests, as well as indigenous communities. Not least do we deplore the effects that the production methods will have on the global climate, methods that are many times more carbon-intensive than those used in production of conventional oil, thus increasingly jeopardizing a sustainable future for today’s young people.

As Norwegian citizens, we deeply regret that Norway’s 67 % state owned company, Statoil, is part of this dirty and dangerous business. Therefore the Norwegian environmental movement has demanded that the Parliament and Government must instruct Statoil to withdraw from the tar sand exploitation in Alberta, a demand that is being supported by a growing number of political parties, organizations and citizens. We, the Grandparents Climate Action of Norway, will stand firmly on these demands, as they are inseparable from the struggle for our common future and the prosperity and safety of our grandchildren. “

8 thoughts on “Norwegian Grandparents speak out against the Tar Sands”

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  2. I reacted to your recent comment with a mixed emotional response as I am a proud Albertan by choice. As the group you belong to targets the oil sands, with all due respect, I feel I must reply.

    On the one hand, I applaud any efforts to try to make the world a cleaner and healthier place for our grandchildren. I think it should be the responsibility of everyone to not only be serious about looking after the future, but also to care for the present. We take our part seriously.

    On the other hand, the oil sands are Canada’s wonderful resource and provide a living for many of to-day’s children. How can I, in all fairness, not consider the oil sands an important economic source for their families to-day.

    There is so much hypocrisy about the oil sands in Alberta, I just can’t miss the opportunity to send along some facts. Perhaps, you already know that Alberta’s oil sands produce less than 2 % of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The European Union is responsible for 13%, Russia 5%, India 5%, USA 19% and China 21%. I’ve heard that the Alberta oil sands’ emissions are less than the emissions from BC’s forests. The following is copied from an article compiled by the Alberta Government about the benefits from the oil sands.

    About 1.5 million barrels of crude are produced every day in the oil sands. That number is expected to more than double within the decade. Alberta is one of the few non-OPEC regions in the world that can accommodate significant growth in oil production to help meet continued and growing consumer demand.

    Oil sands development brings with it tremendous benefits to the people of Alberta and Canada. Royalties, tax revenue, jobs and investment translate into valuable government services and wealth for our citizens. For example, forecasts show the oil sands industry will provide 450,000 jobs across Canada annually for the next quarter century (Canadian Energy Research Institute).

    Economic Impact

    Every dollar invested in the oil sands creates about $9 worth of economic activity with one-third generated outside Alberta — in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. Oil sands development is expected to generate more than $307 billion in tax revenue across Canada over the next 25 years.

    Alberta realizes the challenges it faces in managing this resource and there are numerous research projects that are being undertaken to limit the effects on the environment. I recently heard that electrical probes are being used to liquify the oil and allow it to be recovered with less impact on the environment.

    As mentioned earlier, I applaud your efforts to make this planet a better place for our grandchildren. Unfortunately, until people around the world are prepared to give up their extravagant lifestyles along with their big fast cars, oil will continue to fuel their addictions.

  3. It is gratifying to see grandparents stand up for the environment against the wanton destruction of the environment, when many other grandparents continue to inflate the demand for dirty oil by flying their grandchildren to Disney World, and other faraway places. Demand must be curtailed by government intervention in the form of education, cessation of oil and gas subsidies, and, eventual rationing of an extremely costly resource.

  4. We applaud the Grandparents’ Climate Action of Norway’s resolved commitment in condemning Alberta’s oilsands industry.

    Placing a paid advertisement in The Journal denouncing their government’s participation in perpetuating the polluting oil industry with Norway’s state-owned Statoil is commendable.

    Now it’s our turn. It’s time for all Canadian grandparents to stand up and take action on climate change. We do have a choice between a sustainable planet and a dead planet. We can make a difference. Let’s begin to phase out the Alberta oilsands. Our children and grandchildren will be indebted to us. So will the aboriginal population and the irreplaceable native species.

    Anthony Ketchum, president, For Our Grandchildren, Toronto

  5. On Feb 10, 2011, Alberta Environment laid charges against Statoil for improperly diverting water for use at an in situ oil sands facility near Conklin in 2008 and 2009. Statoil appeared in court April 6, 2011 in Edmonton, Alberta to answer the charges and somehow their lawyers persuaded the court to adjourn the matter until June 30. It is your Statoil that is breaking the stringent environmental laws set by the Alberta government. Statoil and Norway should be ashamed of this perversion of justice. Who do you think you are coming to Alberta to run roughshod over the environmental rules set for oil sands exploration? It is time to extract Statoil with its horrendous environmental infractions from Alberta’s oil sands as one would extract a bloated tick from the body of a cow. Shame on you Norway for allowing this state run organization to descend to such a level of depravity. The sole reason for the appearance of the advertisement in the Edmonton Journal, by the Norwegian Grandparents’ Climate Action, was to distract public attention from this upcoming court case. It is time for Statoil to get out of the oil sands and allow a more responsible company to take over.

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