Tar sands

Dr James Hansen summarised the danger posed by extracting oil from toxic tar sands when he said, “If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.”

So, with bold announcements about being “back” we should be seeing some bold moves outlawing tar sands oil extraction, yet when the issue was raised in with Minister McKenna she sent out a more cloudy message starting with: “Oil sands are important to the Canadian economy and its important to the Alberta economy”

Binding or non-binding, that is the question?

In the international context of reaching a global deal on limiting emissions that are accelerating climate change Minister Mckenna made the following statement:  “We need an agreement that is going to be legally binding.”  she then goes on to say, “there will be some parts, you know, to reflect the reality, that some countries have concerns with all aspects being binding, that maybe all aspects won’t be binding.”

The Minister starts off by stating the need for binding agreements that force countries to take the necessary action to try and limit the changes in climate that are affecting billions of people around the world. She then, in the same sentence, acknowledges that those countries who have concerns will not have to be bound by the terms. Which is it?

In so many areas where global policy is set, we see laws enacted and enforced, punitive measures inflicted on those countries that break the rules. The difference is that these kinds of agreements are usually to do with trade, or in other words, money. When it comes to setting real policy to safeguard human, as well as many other species lives, the agreements are non-binding. They simply have no teeth.

Time to put the pressure on

The COP21 talks are destined to be a sham if agreements are non-binding. We will see world leaders standing together smiling and shaking hands at the end of the conference and yet they will have achieved nothing for humanity in real terms. The conference will be over and legacies of failure set in stone.

Now is the time for the public all over the world to stand up and demand that these agreements become binding and that those who break the law are punished. There is no option now. We are not solving climate change, we are trying to limit the damages that we know are coming towards us. Everybody has a role to play in this.


canadaisback still1

More posts by Nick Breeze

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is the first of the big global conferences of 2020 that will lead us to COP26 in Glasgow where governments will be under enormous pressure to agree safe and realistic action for the future. With Extinction Rebellion (XR) and other protest groups converging in the Swiss alpine town of Davos, I asked their leading spokesperson, Rupert Read, whether the tone being set here is encouraging:


The UK is readying itself for the presidency of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), to be held in Glasgow in November 2020. In the wake of the failure of COP25, a British presidency must bring to bear its accumulated powers in diplomacy, persuasion, purpose, and determination, to recreate trust in the Paris accord, kickstarting a new decade of meaningful achievements on safeguarding our collective future. 


Seeing the extent of environmental destruction in 2015, Jackie Bond started volunteering for the Green Party in Southwark, SE London. In the last year, aside for standing for the Greens in Vauxhall and doubled their share of the vote, she has worked extensively with Extinction Rebellion, organising civil actions in pursuit of radical climate action. In this interview with Nick Breeze, Jackie discusses how she got involved in XR, why we need to put the climate crisis at the centre of policymaking, and her strategy for creating change in the UK.


Longstanding climate change siren, Professor James Hansen talks to Nick Breeze about negative emissions technologies NET's, accelerating emissions, the need for international and intergenerational cooperations. Is he optimistic?


Addressing a wine industry on the frontline of climate change, Former President Obama said: “We are speeding our car towards the cliff at a very fast rate”. The audience and former president were invited to the launch of this new initiative by 326yr old port company CEO, Adrian Bridge, who is calling for solutions, saying “what we need to do is stop talking and start doing!” Nick Breeze reports.


A three day hearing at the High Court is in process that will decide whether an injunction be granted, effectively preventing any campaigning that might negatively impact the economic interests of UKOG and their associated companies.