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NEWS: How Harper is trying to kill European climate legislation

European Union member states are set to discuss the European Fuel Quality Directive on Tuesday October 25. The Calgary Herald reports, “Once the expert committee approves the measures, the European Parliament has three months to pass or reject them. If rejected, the Commission can submit a revised proposal.”


“Oilsands crude (have been given) a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams of carbon per megajoule under the standard, making it clear to buyers it has a greater climate impact than conventional oil – at 87.5 grams. …The green fuel ranking completes legislation introduced in 2008 when the EU agreed to cut the transport fuel carbon intensity six per cent by 2020, part of a target to reduce carbon emissions 20 per cent by 2020.”

The Harper government is seeking to defeat the EFQD in the following ways:

1. “Federal natural resources minister Joe Oliver has suggested Ottawa could take the EU to the World Trade Organization if the Europeans adopt the fuel directive.”

2. “Oliver said he’d met personally with officials from five European countries to make his case the oilsands are not as greenhouse gas-intensive as they’re portrayed in the directive…”

3. “Canadian officials have appealed to five other countries and there are targeted campaigns aimed at the United Kingdom and the European Commission that drafted the directive in Belgium…”

The Edmonton Journal adds:

4. “Oliver met Wednesday in Paris with energy ministers from around the globe (at the International Energy Agency meetings), where he delivered Canada’s case for the European Union to vote against the proposed Fuel Quality Directive…”

5. “Early next month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will have an opportunity to raise the issue with European leaders attending the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France.”

6. “Oliver said he has sent a letter to the European commissioner for energy in Brussels outlining Canada’s position.”

7. “(Oliver) has also dispatched a senior department staffer to meet with eurozone officials…”

This past Thursday, the Council of Canadians sent a letter to all Members of the European Parliament urging them to ignore Canadian pressure when they are asked to vote on an important fuel quality policy that rightly lists all tar sands crude as more polluting than conventional oil.

While time is tight, Reuters notes, “An EU source said Tuesday’s committee meeting would probably not get as far as a vote and would instead meet again for further discussion and a vote at some stage.” That said, it has been speculated that December 2 may be the date that the European Parliament votes on the Fuel Quality Directive.