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Harper weeps for ducks in the oil sands; NAFTA provision ignored and international norms violated PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Friday, 02 May 2008 01:09

 2008 May 2nd

Harper weeps for ducks in the oil sands; NAFTA articles ignored and international norms violated

PEJ news - Joan Russow - Global Compliance Research Project - After the duck die-in in the oil sands ponds, Harper proclaims that in producing oil in the oil sands, Canada must become a global environmental leader!!!. Production in the oil sands violates both articles in the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA, and international norms. NAFTA and SPP must be declared null and void, for violating significant provisions in NAFTA and international peremptory norms, and all further exploration in the oil sands must cease. No "carbon credits" can absolve Canada from its obligations.




Under Chapter 11, there are the following articles:

Article 1114: Environmental Measures
I. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prevent a Party from adopting, maintaining or enforcing any measure otherwise consistent with this Chapter that it considers appropriate to ensure that investment activity in its territory is undertaken in a manner sensitive to environmental concerns.

2.     The Parties recognize that it is inappropriate to encourage investment by relaxing domestic health, safety or environmental measures. Accordingly, a Party should not waive or otherwise derogate from, or offer to waive or otherwise derogate from, such measures as an encouragement for the establishment, acquisition, expansion or retention in its territory of an investment of an investor. If a Party considers that another Party has offered such an encouragement, it may request consultations with the other Party and the two Parties shall consult with a view to avoiding any such encouragement.

It is clear that Canada, in producing oil in the oil sands is not being “sensitive to environmental concerns” and is encourage “ investment by relaxing domestic health, safety or environmental measures”


Under the Security and Prosperity Partnership there is pressure to provide a source of “reliable energy”
With the call under the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) there is a call for “increased development of the oil sands”. and for “ the imperative to increase reliable energy supplies for the region's needs and development" and to achieve this, the North American reliability Council (NERC) has been set up with a mission to improve the reliability and security of the bulk power system; leading to the achievement of the reliability of electricity supply through interconnected grid system as a priority….

-of provisions that will “ensure a sustainable energy economy for North America” . [ in other words An unlimited supply, from Canada and Mexico, of fossil fuel and hydro to supply US wants];  Not yet but perhaps soon Bush- the DECIDER will declare, as he did in 2002 in Nigeria with Nigerian reserves, that the fossil fuel resources of Canada and Mexico are of US “strategic national interest”. An increased imperative to corporate takeover of the oil sands production to protect US interests.

Ignoring principles related to climate change

Developing oil sands contravenes norms related to climate change. Concern about the issue of climate change was raised by scientists as early at 1958, and in the 1988 Changing Conference in Toronto, the concern was intensified among the participants when they acknowledged: that “with, Climate change, the global community was engaging in a global experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war. the Earth's atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate ……. resulting from wasteful fossil fuel use ... These changes represent a major threat to international security and are already having harmful consequences over many parts of the globe.... it is imperative to act now." Changing Atmosphere Conference held in Toronto in 1988
Canada, Mexico and the US have all signed and ratified the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change.
They have renounced and reneged on their obligations under the legally binding UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and are out of sync with International norms expressed in the Convention, which they signed.

In the Convention:
A legal obligation was incurred
"…to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof. (Article 3 Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992, UNCED) .

Also under the Convention on climate change, Canada and the US incurred an obligation to "conserve" to enhance and "to document carbon sinks", to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions, and to invoke the precautionary principle which reads that where there is a threat of climate change, the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent the threat.

Canada and the US governments have stood idly by while the fossil fuel industry along with captive scientists and academic institutes LOBBIED to deny Climate change.. often claiming that there was not full scientific certainty of climate change.

The SPP in guaranteeing a reliable source of energy will perpetuate the YEARS OF procrastination about seriously addressing the issue of climate change.

Solution worse than the problem it is intended to solve

The Hon. Gary Lunn, the Minister of Natural Resources, however purports to have the solution to use “clean” nuclear energy in the development of the oil sands”.

Institutional memory is short; Lunn has forgotten the directive from the 1991 parliamentary committee on climate change that a solution to climate change should never be equally bad or worse than the problem it is intended to solve.

And he also has forgotten the commitment made by Canada to promote Environmentally sound AND SAFE alternative energy at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).

Nuclear was not listed as one of the environmentally sound sources of renewable energy

Under Chapter 9 Atmosphere section of Agenda 21 adopted at UNCED, all member states made the following commitment to:
“new and renewable energy sources are solar, photovoltaic, wind, .. biomass, geothermal, ocean animal and human power as referred to in the reports of the Committee on the Development and Utilization of New and Renewable Sources of Energy, prepared specifically for the Conference.

Reducing the Ecological Footprint

Every member state of the UN also made a commitment at the 1996 Habitat II Conference to reduce the ecological footprint

And a commitment, at the Habitat II conference in 1996 to reducing the ecological footprint:

(172) Promoting changes in unsustainable production and consumption patterns, particularly in industrialized countries...settlement structures that are more sustainable, reduce environmental stress , promote the efficient and rational use of natural resources- including water, air, biodiversity, forests, energy sources and land - and meet basic needs thereby providing a healthy living and working environment for all and reducing the ecological footprint of human settlements; (27 b, Habitat II, 1996)

In Conclusion, the NAFTA and SPP and must be declared null and void, for violating significant provisions in NAFTA and international peremptory norms, and all further exploration in the oil sands must cease. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 18:08

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