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EU vote opens the door to more Canadian tar sands imports

tar sands imports

The EU has failed to stop a flood of tar sands from reaching European shores. Creative Commons: Howl Arts Collective, 2008

Members of the European Parliament have narrowly failed to reject new fuel quality rules — the EU’s crucial climate legislation aimed at reducing emissions from transport fuels — paving the way for more tar sands oil in Europe.

A proposal to adopt a stronger FQD, submitted by the European Commission to the European Parliament, would have discouraged oil companies from using and investing in some of the world’s dirtiest sources of fuel, including Alberta’s tar sands oil and coal-to-liquid.

The proposal would have labelled tar sands oil “dirty” in Europe, but was “narrowly” rejected by the parliament.

Canada’s oil lobby is among the culprits accused of strong-arming MEPs over the past eight years to ease regulations and encourage a freer flow of tar sands oil into European markets.

Canada’s highly destructive tar sands are the country’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU needs to stick by its principles and show clearly that it is a leader on climate action as proclaimed during the UN negotiations in Lima last week.

As Socialist MEP Kathleen Van Brempt said:

“A week after the climate talks in Lima and a year ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris it would be cynical to lower European standards and it would undermine the EU’s credibility. There is too much at stake and the EU must persuade other countries to move forward.”

If the EU is serious about tackling climate change, this latest move is far from a step in the right direction.

Not only do they pose a risk to the climate but tar sands put communities and the environment at risk.

Communities in Canada living in proximity of tar sands and pipeline routes are vulnerable to oil spills. Further, the size and destructive capability producing oil from the tar sands will accelerate climate changedestroy huge swaths of pristine forests and imperil waterways from coast to coast.

It is up to the EU to expose these issues and as Socialist MEP Kathleen Van Brempt said “persuade other countries to move forward,” not backward.

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