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NEWS: Canada threatens to scrap CETA over tar sands

Reuters reports that, “Canada has threatened to scrap a trade deal with the European Union if the EU persists with plans that would block imports of Canada’s highly polluting tar sands, according to documents and sources.” As we have noted in previous campaign blogs, both the Harper government and the Alberta government have taken aim at the European Fuel Quality Directive. A draft version of the directive written by European Union environment officials in 2009 deemed the tar sands to be 20 percent more damaging to the climate than the petroleum typically used to power Europe’s cars. The Harper government has described this directive as a ‘trade barrier’ and linked it to the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Reuters notes, “The European Union has already told its fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of fuels by 6 percent over the next decade, and is now fine-tuning ‘default values’ to help suppliers identify the most carbon-intensive imports. Canada says the standards would instantly constrict a possible future market for its oil sands… ‘Canada has been lobbying the Commission and member states intensively to avoid a separate default value for fuel derived from tar sands,’ said a briefing note prepared by EU officials for climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard.”

Signficantly, “‘(Canada) has raised the (tar sands) issue in the context of EU-Canada negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement,’ adds the note (prepared for the EU climate commissioner), one of several from last year released last week under freedom-of-information laws. Sources said on Monday Canada had gone further, threatening to scrap the free trade deal, which is expected to be agreed later this year. There was no immediate comment from the Canadian embassy in Brussels.”

The Reuters news article is at http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFWEB045820110221.