Posted by: Dr Churchill | March 31, 2012

Tar Sands coming up for European Ministers Dirty Fuel vote…

This June the issue of Tar Sands, will be voted upon by European Ministers as they will be called upon to decide to label Tar Sands a Dirty Fuel…

Of course the Environmental Parliament has decided that Tar Sands are the worst fuel on record. In most respects Tar Sands are far worse than coal because of it’s highly polluting nature. And the science is well documents and the Canadians are well appraised of their Moral Turpitude, but even some European governments are responsible for failing down on their moral responsibility too. Especially nations like the UK and the Netherlands who have invested heavily into the Canadian Tar Sands projects through Bank finance, mainly through RBS and from the ownership stake of Shell and BP who pioneered the Tar Sands in the first place. And we have good reason to worry the new legislation might not pass coming June…

Because last month the European Union fuel experts [proxies for the Ministers of Energy] also voted on the proposal to label fuel oils according to their carbon footprint, without reaching a conclusion on the Tar Sands. Because if they had labeled Tar Sands highly polluting, they would have effectively banned the import of oil from tar sands into Europe. However the vote ended in deadlock, so the final decision will not come until the Ministers vote on the issue this June.

And it was under intense pressure that the EU nations, failed last month, to agree on the proposal to label fuel from tar sands as particularly polluting. This now gives Ottawa four more months to press its trade case that the move would unfairly discriminate against one of its most lucrative exports.

In February, it was a committee of technical experts that was unable to deliver a decisive vote on the European executive’s proposal to tag oil from Tar sands as far more carbon-intensive than other crude oil sources. This comes as part of our efforts to curb global warming through Europe wide policies.

Canada’s northern Alberta oil sands are the world’s third-largest crude deposit, and there has been enough scientific evidence that emissions from there are tilting our climate if they are fully developed…

And although Canada sells almost no oil in Europe, it worries such a dirty fuel classification under the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) would sully its reputation as it strives to tap new markets elsewhere. The tag would take into account the extra energy it takes to produce and process the gooey heavy crude.

The indecisive result of the closed-door vote, in which dozens of the experts abstained, prompted officials on both sides of the debate to claim victory.

“We’re very pleased. This was certainly a resounding win … it was a victory for science and good policy,” Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver told Reuters.

Canada will not let up with its intense lobbying efforts in Europe as EU ministers prepare to vote on the initiative themselves in June, Oliver said.

“If unjustified and discriminatory measures to implement the FQD are ultimately put in place, we’re not going to hesitate to defend our interests,” he said.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, whose province contains the 170 billion barrels of crude, said the label would have made it tougher to convince new markets that serious efforts are being made to improve environmental performance.

However, the EU’s climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, pointed out that tar sands lobbyists had failed in their goal to secure a decisive “No” vote.

“With all the lobbyism against the Commission proposal, I feared that member states’ experts would have rejected the proposal in today’s experts committee. I am glad that this was not the case,” Hedegaard said in a statement.

“Now our proposal will go to ministers, and I hope governments will realize that unconventional fuels of course need to account for their considerably higher emissions through separate values.”

For the Conservative government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the stakes could hardly be higher. It has made expanding markets for the Alberta oil sands its number One Job.

Besides seeking to shoot down EU labeling, it has been cajoling Washington to approve TransCanada Corp’s planned $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas, and is an enthusiastic promoter of new pipelines to the Pacific Coast, which would open up rich Asian markets.

All are controversial as environmental groups mount campaigns against new pipelines to create pinchpoints aimed at slowing development of the huge Alberta resource.

Following the vote, they welcomed the chance for open debate after a series of closed-door technical meetings.

Greenpeace EU transport policy adviser Franziska Achterberg said the tar sands issue was “finally in the hands of publicly accountable ministers”.

“The evidence is clear: tar sands are the world’s dirtiest fuels. The decision is even clearer: ministers should stand up to the oil industry and ban them from Europe,” she said.

Within the European Union, Canada has found some support in Britain and the Netherlands, both of which have stakes in Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest oil sands developers, along with Total of France. They were among nations to abstain on Thursday.

Norman Baker, Britain’s under-secretary of state for transport, said his country supported measures to deal with highly polluting fuels, but thought the Commission’s proposal needed adjustments.

“We do not want this matter to end in stalemate with no action being taken,” Baker said in an email.

“No” voters included Estonia, home to shale oil, which would also be labeled as carbon intensive.

There were 54 votes in favor of the proposal, 128 votes against and 128 abstentions, producing no qualified majority either way under the EU’s highly complex system.

Support for tagging the crude as dirty has been led by nations such as Denmark, holder of the rotating EU presidency and a keen advocate of environmental reform.

Slovakia also supported the directive. “Your children will give you the answer,” Matiaz Ferjancic, Slovakia’s technical representative at the meeting, said when asked why.

The directive’s overall goal is to reduce carbon intensity of transport fuels by 6 percent by 2020 as part of a wider target cutting carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

As a means to that end, it assigns greenhouse gas values to a series of fuels, including those derived from oil sands, which require high amounts of energy to convert them into fuel.

Tar sands are assigned a default greenhouse gas value of 107 grams of carbon per megajoule, informing buyers it has a greater climate impact across its life-cycle from wells to wheels than conventional crude, which has been assigned 87.5 grams.

After all is said and done, we must counter the fascism of Canada’s polluting our atmosphere and changing our climate with robust action to protect our future.

With Rio +20 coming up in June we best be prepared to pepper the Euro Ministers with our petitions to steer them to do the right thing and steel their resolve to be truthful to humanity…




Tar Sands and the beastly Canadians developing them are going to throw our Environment for a loop.. and warm our planet just for a bag of shekels…

And if you ask why this wrong?


Because they know that we must plan for the future because that’s where they are going to spend the rest of their lives, anyway.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: