Press Statement: Thursday February 23rd, 2012
UK Tar Sands Network response to Fuel Quality Directive vote
The European Union has reached a stalemate today in a vote to decide if tar sands oil is to be labeled as highly polluting. There were 89 votes for the proposal and 128 votes against. There were 128 abstentions including the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
“We welcome the decision of the UK government to abstain from voting against the Fuel Quality Directive after concerted public pressure. We would now like to see the UK government offer support for the directive in the upcoming months as the vote goes to the Environment Committee in June.” said Suzanne Dhaliwal, co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network
“An intensive lobbying campaign by the Canadian government, including threats of trade wars, has meant that instead of seeing decisive action on climate change in Europe a decision has now been delayed until June. Canada must now realise that the European public is mobilised to ensure that our governments make the right decision to label the tar sands as highly polluting.”
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What is the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)?
The FQD could ensure that tar sands are strongly discouraged from entering the EU because of their high carbon-intensity. However, aggressive lobbying from the Canadian government and oil companies is aiming to block this move.
The EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) aims to encourage the use of low carbon transport fuels and discourage the use of high-emission crude oil and reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions from road transport by 6% before 2020. A recent independent study carried out by Stanford University for the European Commission concluded that oil from tar sands leads to 23% higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude oil.
Unsurprisingly, the Canadian government, with the support of European oil companies, has been lobbying hard to prevent the EU discriminating between conventional oil and tar sands. Canada began by trying to call the science into disrepute, by insisting tar sands oil is no more polluting than conventional oil, and invoking the spectre of legal challenges for unfair discrimination under CETA and the WTO.
Currently the UK is supporting the Canadian position, and lobbying other member states to agree to an ‘alternative methodology’ which would not only further delay the process, but would be less effective at reducing imports tar sands into Europe.
Lush got very sticky and called on the UK to stop its indecent relationship with Canada by stalling the FQD by staging an Oil-Orgy in the streets of Oxford. There have also been actions at the Liberal Democrat HQ by the LSX Occupy: Energy, Equity and Environment Group and People and Planet were at Nick Clegg’s office.
It would be tragic if we allowed our own government to stand in the way of progressive climate legislation that would genuinely scupper the expansion of an industry which is devastating ecosystems, killing communities and contributing to climate change.
What can you do?
- Take a moment to sign an online action
Avaaz – UK: 24 hours to stop Tar Sands
People and Planet – Send a letter to Nick Clegg asking him to support the Fuel Quality Directive!
- Keep tuned! We will need to keep the pressure on.
FQD FAQ – Briefing from the Pembina Institute
Canada threatens trade war with EU over tar sands
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