The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded today to Canadian oil giant TransCanada for its innovative public policies on climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Canadian fossil-fuel infrastructure company, whose earnings exceeded $1 billion in 2011, has received strong praise from environmentalists in recent days over its unique partnership with community activists at the site in Texas where it is seeking to construct the “southern leg” of the controversial Keystone Pipeline — a pipeline that would carry Tar Sands oil from Alberta, Canada, through pipelines across the north-south axis of the Midwest United States, to refineries in Texas and Oklahoma.
TransCanada has taken extraordinary measures in recent weeks to work, together with members of the grassroots Tar Sands Blockade, to raise public awareness about the devastating nature of tar sands oil, how the Keystone Pipeline represents a “climate catastrophe,” and the science which has led the world’s leading scientists to speak out strongly against the pipeline.
In accepting the prestigious award, TransCanada CEO and President Russ Girling said, “we are fulfilling our environmental pledges, as stated explicitly in our website,” including:
- “Participating in public policy forums related to emissions issues.”
- “Taking part in public awareness initiatives and education programs focused on climate change and air quality issues.”
Nobel panel chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said the award was “in recognition” of the specific steps taken recently by TransCanada to “engage the public,” including:
- Arresting journalists (including from the NY Times).
- Preventing public access to the Keystone pipeline construction sites.
- Seizure of land against the will of property owners, via “eminent domain laws” — and then arresting the same landowners.
- Hiring local police o make these arrests.
- Pepper-spraying and tasering peaceful protesters.
Handcuffing a great-grandmother — on her own property, along with actress Darryl Hannah.
- Confiscating cameras from observers.
The award mirrors the company's pledge, as stated specifically on it's website, to engage with the public on climate change issues. It's website states:
- “TransCanada is committed to developing innovative and economically effective solutions to manage climate change and air quality issues." (See: Transcanada.com)
CEO Girling, in accepting the award, said: “By arresting, harassing, and attempting to keep the actions of these peaceful protesters a complete secret from the world, TransCanada is indeed fulfilling our committment to engage the public on the most important, long-term environmental issue of our time. Our actions prove to the world just how much we truly care for the future".
The Tar Sands Blockade is now entering its third month in a forest near Winnsboro, Texas, where TransCanada is seeking to begin construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.