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Should the UK Help Ban Canada’s Tar Sands from Europe?

The EU is currently discussing a Fuel Quality Directive, which will designate Canada’s tar sands as 22% more polluting than conventional fuels and effectively ban any fuel derived from them from being used in Europe. Canada greatly fears this directive as it would not only cut off a huge market, but could also set a precedent that other countries may follow.

The UK government has been actively supporting Canada’s attempts to prevent this European proposal. Norman Baker, the UK Transport Minister, defends his government’s stance, saying that they want, not just oil sands, but all types of crude oil to be assessed. "To be clear, we are not delaying action in any way, but are seeking an effective solution to address the carbon emissions from all highly polluting crudes, not simply those from one particular country."

To me that sounds just like typical political talk. The sitting on the fence approach, neither supporting nor denouncing Canada’s oil sands, and trying to justify their position by suggesting they are doing it for “the greater good”, to be fairer.

The Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies deplores the UK’s naivety in accepting Canada’s “special pleading as though it were gospel truth” and the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith has gone as far as to call his government’s position a “disgrace.”

Eight Nobel Laureates, including the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have now added their weight to the criticisms plaguing the David Cameron’s government. They wrote a letter arguing that "tar sands development is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, and threatens the health of the planet.” The UK has the power to help pass this new law which would ban such a dirty fuel from Europe.

The European vote is planned to take place on the 23rd February. Reuters has suggested that according to its sources in Europe the vote will likely end in a stalemate.

By. Joao Piexe of Oilprice.com



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  • Sergio Pereira on February 24 2012 said:
    Most definitely.

    Will the government side with the oil industry or in protecting the environment.

    Tarsands represent "dirty oil", their extraction leads to increased levels of air pollution as well as causing scars to Alberta's landscape.

    It is time to act now to defend our fragile environment for future generations.

    I support the EU's Fuel Quality Directive.
    Do the right thing, show that Europe is taking the lead in protecting the environment.
  • art wissing on February 21 2012 said:
    where are your facts vickie? to back up what you say? you greens use just as much oil as everyone else,every day and more tomorrow. the only way countries develope and raise living standards for everyone is through cheap energy sources.in the ground resources are the only ones that work,for now and decades to come. let me know what day the world used less energy than the day before,i want to mark my calender....
  • jack monath on February 20 2012 said:
    this is the same oil the republicans want to run through our equatic water ways to bring jobs to america, what a sham
  • Victoria Leigh Lustre on February 18 2012 said:
    It is for the greater good that the tarsands stay in the ground. Promoting tarsands is an act of war on the climate and on indigenous people who are dying because of Alberta's greed.
    It is a fact that production and use of the "oil sands" is far more damaging than conventional oil. It is a fact that the rivers around the tarsands are being polluted, not to mention the air and ground. It is a fact that this carbon time-bomb is killing people and wildlife now, not to mention the unknown future death toll.
    The world is watching and we need to send the Canadians a clear message. Tarsands are not in the climate's best interest. Our climate belongs to everyone and no one.

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