Tar sands pipeline protests outside Citibank

Protest outside Citibank's Australian headquarters. Photo Greenpeace

A series of toxic tar sands oil pipelines are set to be built throughout North America. They are an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

Tar sands oil pipelines have a history of destruction: they tear up land, pollute water and cause catastrophic oil spills that take decades to clean up. These pipelines are responsible for hundreds of polluting spills and explosions every single day in the US. There is no safe way to transport oil and the effects of a spill can be devastating.

As in Australia, these toxic pipelines are located in Indigenous and low-income communities, where they poison the water supply and traumatise local people. They are a perfect example of environmental racism.

Tar sands pipelines need finance from big banks. Some banks are already backing away from tar sands pipelines, but Greenpeace has pinpointed a “Dirty Dozen” of twelve banks that are still financially involved in these projects.

As in Australia, where it has funded billions of dollars of risky fossil fuel projects, Citibank is one of the banks profiting from financing the pipelines.

Citibank appears not to care that if extracted and burnt, the tar sands these pipelines carry will add 15% to the world’s atmospheric carbon. It is the largest Australian funder of climate change among retail banks after the Big Four.

In the same way the Commonwealth Bank was forced to rule out new coal projects, Greenpeace aims to get Citibank and the other banks to rule out financing toxic oil pipelines. If people around the world ask banks to commit to not fund these pipelines, we can stop these new pipelines.

So far, more than 350,000 people globally have demanded the banks rule out funding the pipelines. They join the 10,000 people who have joined First Nations leaders in mobilising in the streets in opposition to the projects. Around the world, people have protested outside banks that have not made their position on these projects clear.

As part of this protest, on July 10 Green peace activists built a rusty, leaky, unwanted oil pipeline (made out of cardboard) outside Citibank's Australian headquarters. Their message was clear: stop funding dirty oil projects and stop funding toxic tar sands pipelines. #StopPipelines

The ball is now in Citibank’s court to tell us where it stands.