OTTAWA, April 8 /CNW/ - The Canadian government should stop lobbying the
European Parliament and European Commission to weaken a popular EU
climate measure aimed at reducing the carbon content of transportation
fuels, say Canadian civil society groups in a letter sent to Harper
government officials today.
The letter is in response to news that the Harper government has again
threatened to take the EU's Fuel Quality Directive to the World Trade
Organization if it contains higher carbon content values for tar sands
derived crude than conventional fuel. It was sent today in advance of a
seventh round of Canada-EU negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and
Trade Agreement beginning in Ottawa this Monday. Briefing notes
attained under freedom of information laws have confirmed that CETA
negotiations have been a venue for the Canadian government's campaign
to undermine the popular EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).
"The European Union has popular and scientific support for its new fuel
quality rules. They are rightly trying to phase out dirty fuel, which
will absolutely have to include the Alberta tar sands," says Andrea
Harden-Donahue, Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner with the Council
The letter highlights a number of lobbying efforts including two letters
sent by the Canadian Ambassador in Brussels, Ross Hornby, to the head
the European Commission's Environment Department, and a letter from a
senior official at Natural Resources Canada. The issue has also been
raised at a meeting between EU President Jose Manuel Barroso and Prime
Minister Harper. While these efforts suggest little scientific basis
for attributing tar sands as a high carbon crude, a recent study
prepared for the European Commission adds to the significant body of
scientific research confirming that the tar sands have a heavier carbon
"It's disturbing enough to think that the Government of Canada is
running around the world acting like a lobbyist for the oil industry,
but it's appalling that what this means in practice is that they are
attacking clean energy policy in other countries," said Graham Saul,
Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada.
"Indigenous peoples who live in the midst of massive tar sands
extraction have seen their human rights and way of life trampled upon
by Canadian energy policy," adds Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands
Campaigner of the Indigenous Environmental Network.
"This pattern of lobbying the EU to weaken climate policy is
unacceptable. Further, trade agreements and rules should not be allowed
to override social and environmental priorities," says the letter.
"Rather than lobby to weaken the efforts of other countries, the
Canadian government should focus on efforts that reduce emissions,
support green jobs expansion and better regulate the serious social and
environmental consequences of tar sands development."
SOURCE COUNCIL OF CANADIANS
For further information:
Dylan Penner, media officer, Council of Canadians, 613-795-8685, twitter: @CouncilofCDNs
Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada, 613-558-3368
Clayton-Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network, 613-297-7515