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
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com