Connie Hedegaard

European Union Pushing Back on Canada's Taxpayer Funded Tar Sands Lobbying

Read time: 4 mins
Canada Europe flags oiled

Canada does not - as yet - export much tar sands oil to Europe. So why, you might ask, have the Canadian and Alberta governments been working overtime using tax dollars to fund a massive misinformation and lobbying campaign on the other side of the Atlantic?

There’s a clue in this press release from January announcing Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert’s $40,000 lobbying jaunts to the US and Europe: “The European Union is not currently a major market for Alberta’s oil sands products, but any legislation or tariffs adopted by the union’s government can serve as a model for individual nations around the world. We want to continue to share our story with the legislators so they have the facts about our clean energy strategies”

(I’ll let the “clean energy strategies” rubbish slide for now.)

It’s not about protecting existing markets. At the moment the vast majority of exported tar sands oil goes to the US. For the most part, it’s not even about securing a regulatory environment in Europe that protects future potential markets (although that is no doubt a contributing factor). I’ll tell you why the Canadian and Albertan governments are so worried that they’ve been applying pressure on European legislators to a degree at least one EU parliamentarian has declared “unacceptable”.

It’s about precedent. And they’re scared.

Canada Bullying The European Union Over Tar Sands, Threatening To Scuttle Trade Agreement

Read time: 3 mins

Canada is using Alberta’s dirty tar sands as an excuse to bully the European Union (EU) into watering down its climate change policies, leaving the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) in serious doubt.

This brewing transatlantic dispute over the tar sands stems from the likelihood that the EU could officially block the sale of Alberta oil in Europe given its high carbon content. 

The European Commission is reportedly “readying its defenses for a legal fight with Canada.”

Climate Week: Raise Your Hopes; Lower Your Expectations

Read time: 4 mins

“Don’t make the best the enemy of the good.” - Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Climate Week has launched in New York City with contradictory calls to be optimistic about UN climate negotiations culminating in Copenhagen in December, but to keep our expectations low about the strength of any ultimate deal.

The actual “festivities” are all married to what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called “the largest climate change summit in history.” One hundred world leaders are scheduled to gather at the United Nations tomorrow, not likely to further any negotiating positions, but to add their weight to the appearance of a global consensus that climate action - overdue - is on the way.

In honor of this meeting, there are 1,000 Climate Week events booked around the world, 70 in New York City alone. It;s hard to get past a mid-town street corner without bumping into someone mid-pitch on some kind of climate change related issue.

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