Canadian youth delegates crash global polluters conference at COP17
On the day that Canada’s Environment Minister arrives in Durban, members of the Canadian Youth Delegation dressed in their BituMensWear “negotiator uniforms” and joined with organizers from around the globe at a protest at World Business Day during COP17 in Durban. Organized by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the conference brings together United Nations delegates with representatives from the world’s biggest polluters, including many corporations involved in Canada’s tar sands.
“We joined with partners from around the world to confront this gathering today because our climate is being held hostage by a handful of the biggest polluters across the globe, many of which have their hands in the tar sands and all over Canada’s climate stance,” said Cameron Fenton, director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, who took part in the action.
Canada has been called a “brat” and a “bully” in these negotiations, managing to earn 11 Fossil of the Day awards in the first week alone for offensive statements and polluter-friendly policies. Nearly 100 people people gathered outside of the Protea Hotel in Durban holding banners and signs urging governments around the globe to “Listen to the People, Not the Polluters.”
The action coincided with the release of Greenpeace’s “Dirty Dozen in Durban” report, which highlights the twelve corporations doing the most to stall progress at COP17, including tar sands players Shell and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The gathering lasted all morning and included speeches from representatives of groups around the globe.
Canadian Youth Delegates spoke about the uncomfortably close relationship that has developed between Canada’s climate policy and the fossil fuel industry.
“Here in Durban it has become clear as day that Canada sees its role not as the voice of its people but as a lobby arm of the fossil fuel industry,” said Sonia Grant, another youth delegate who participated in the action. “We want Canada to kick the tar sands out of its climate policy and start putting our future ahead of polluters.”