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Friends of the Earth Europe & Council of Canadians report on the tar sands


The Tar Sands report cover, Leahy, Roche and Harden.

The Tar Sands report cover, Leahy, Roche and Harden.

The Council of Canadians and Friends of the Earth Europe have released a new report titled Tar Sands: Europe’s complicity in Canada’s climate crimes.

The report highlights that Europe must close its doors to tar sands if it is to avoid climate catastrophe.

A joint media release notes, “Because the European Union failed to discourage the use of tar sands with its Fuel Quality Directive, tar sands continue to arrive in Europe, with almost three quarters of Europe’s oil refineries tar-sands-ready.” Friends of the Earth Europe campaigner Colin Roche says, “Europe must close its doors to climate-killing fuels like tar sands, and Canada must stop digging them up.” Council of Canadians campaigner Andrea Harden adds, “We need to do our fair share to keep temperature well below 2 degrees and that includes freezing tar sands expansion and planning for 100% fossil free future by 2050.”

The report itself cautions, “The tar sands industry facing difficulties moving their product south and west is now gambling on a new pipeline project – Energy East – the largest proposed pipeline in North America. Energy East appears, even more so than Keystone XL, to be an export pipeline with aims of delivering tar sands oil to Europe.”

The report recommends that:

The European Union should


  • ban the use of tar sands fuel in Europe’s fuel supply.

  • urgently invest in transport efficiency and sustainable transport solutions

  • EU member states should immediately make public the source of all imports of oil fuel source

The Canadian Government should


  • back an immediate freeze on tar sands expansion

  • stop any new tar sands pipelines that facilitate expansion

  • plan for just transition from tar sands, in line with science stating we need to keep 85% in the ground and the shift to a fossil free Canada by 2050

The European and Canadian governments should ensure the Paris climate talks


  • catalyse immediate, urgent and drastic emission reductions in line with what science and equity require

  • provide adequate support for transformation – ensure that the resources needed, such as public finance and technology transfer, are provided to support the transformation, especially in vulnerable and poor countries.

To read the full 28-page report, written by Derek Leahy with additional contributions from Roche and Harden, please click here.

Further reading
CETA & TTIP could lock-in fossil fuel exports to Europe (Nov. 26, 2015)