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The Mandarin Oriental Hotel has stood proudly on the waterfront in the heart of Hong Kong for 40 years. It's one of the best hotels in the world, but it's more than just a hotel, it is Hong Kong, the vibrancy of the city is felt the moment you walk through the doors.
activists from London and Oxford declared the TD Newcrest Tar Sands Investment Forum a 'climate crime scene'. The protesters were calling on UK investors not to be fooled by the greenwash and not to invest in decades of future CO2 emissions.
The forum, held at the 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel, aimed to increase UK investment in tar sands, a very dense form of crude oil, and to demonstrate its environmental sustainability. It was the largest forum of its kind outside of Canada, with investors from all over the UK in attendance.
Mel Knight, energy minister for Canadian province Alberta, was delivering his keynote address as the protesters cordoned off the hotel entrance as a climate crime scene. His aim was to spin the tar sands as environmentally sustainable through the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS), which is described by Greenpeace as “…the ultimate industry pipe-dream”. A recent report presented to the Canadian government however, has shown that only a very small percentage of the emissions from tar sands could be captured and stored using CCS technology.
Hannah Schling, Ditch Dirty Development campaigner said
Mel Knight and the rest of the Canadian government are trying to greenwash the tar sands industry. They know that CCS will not cut emissions from tar sands enough to make it sustainable, yet they claim this technology, still decades from implementation, will make it viable for the climate.
Tar sands (aka oil sands) is made up of extremely heavy crude oil, sand, clay and other contaminants. Previously not economically viable, tar sands have become a more attractive source of oil since global oil prices have risen in recent years. However, due to the amount of extra refinement and processing involved to get a usable form of oil, it is significantly dirtier. Each barrel requires three barrels of water to wash the oil and emits 80kg of greenhouse gasses, three times that of standard crude oil. It is estimated there are 174 billion barrels of oil in the ground in Alberta.
Lewis Bassett, one of the protesters said
Whilst Mel Knight is here to talk about how tar sands are sustainable, we want to make it clear to the investors inside that this is simply not the case. Expansion of the Alberta tar sands is possibly the biggest threat to the climate. We cannot afford to use all the oil reserves we currently have if we want to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. New investment will make this impossible.
Royal Bank of Scotland subsidiary bank ABN-AMRO, participated in a recent round of investments into tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada. In 2004 and 2006, RBS-NatWest acted as the lead arranger of a US$800 million loan to Canadian oil company Opti Canada for their Long Lake tar sands project south of Fort McMurray in the Athabasca region of Alberta in Canada. The People & Planet Ditch Dirty Development campaign takes action on fossil fuel investments, specifically targeting the Royal Bank of Scotland as the worst offender. You can take action now and email RBS, telling them to stop investing in fossil fuel projects.