More than 100 Leading Scientists Call for Halt to Tar Sands Oil Development

Stopping tar sands expansion and projects like Keystone XL pipeline reinforces need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and move to clean energy, NRDC says

WASHINGTON (June 10, 2015) – More than 100 leading climate scientists, economists, biologists and geophysicists today are calling for a North American moratorium on tar sands oil development and related infrastructure to avoid worsening climate change, endangering the land and water and to move toward cleaner energy future.

Anthony Swift, Canada Project Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that the scientists’ declaration is likely the first time the scientific community has weighed in against tar sands oil expansion, and their views should be heeded by governmental leaders and others in the U.S. and Canada.

“Tar sands oil simply is the dirtiest oil on the planet. We need to stop further development of this dirty fuel--along with projects like Keystone XL--and instead speed the transition to clean energy with more investments in wind, solar and energy efficiency,” Swift said. “That’s how we can win the fight against dangerous climate change that threatens our health and the lives of future generations.”

The scientists—more than a quarter of whom are from the United States—issued a declaration of “10 Reasons for a Moratorium” on tar sands expansion and related projects such as the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

“Based on evidence raised across our many disciplines, we offer a unified voice calling for a moratorium on new oil sands projects,” the scientists write. “No new oil sands or related infrastructure projects should proceed unless consistent with an implemented plan to rapidly reduce carbon pollution, safeguard biodiversity, protect human health, and respect treaty rights.”

For a full list of authors and signatories, and to learn more about the scientists’ initiative, please visit:

Swift notes in a blog that the scientists’ statement follows a study published earlier this year in the journal Nature, which shows that most fossil fuels need to stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change.

More from Swift’s blog is here:

Earlier this year, more than 90 North American scientists sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry urging them to reject, once and for all, the Keystone XL pipeline, arguing it would exacerbate climate change by unlocking massive development of tar sands. That letter is here:


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