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NEWS: More trouble for CETA? EU climate commissioner counters Harper’s push for KXL pipeline

Connie Hedegaard, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action

Connie Hedegaard, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action

Here’s another irritant for Harper to contend with as negotiations for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) drag on.

As the Harper government lobbies intensively in Washington for the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, a top European official visiting Washington says that the US President should reject the pipeline. Reuters reports, “The European Union’s top climate change official – Connie Hedegaard, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action – said on Thursday that if the Obama administration rejects the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, it would send a strong message that the United States is serious on combating climate change.”

And as the Harper government backs a proposal from TransCanada for an oil pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick, with export potential to Europe from the deep-water port in Saint John, the Reuters article notes, “Hedegaard also said the EU will stick to its plan to label fuel from Canada’s tar sands deposits as ‘highly polluting’, deterring EU refiners bound by strict environmental rules.” It was just last February that Canada’s top negotiator for CETA threatened to take the EU to the WTO if it pursued its Fuel Quality Directive.

While the signing of CETA had seemed imminent in mid-January, it’s now clear that there are still quite a number of outstanding issues and tensions, even to the degree that in late-February EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht stated, “What was on the table simply didn’t please me, so I didn’t make an agreement. They need to make additional steps and, if not, there will not be an agreement.”

For more, please read:
Harper, walk away from CETA
NEWS: Harper’s gambit against European Fuel Quality Directive could play out in October 2013
NEWS: TransCanada East Coast pipeline eyes tar sands exports to China, India and Europe
UPDATE: Council encourages Canadians to protest KXL in Washington
NEWS: Canada repeats threat of WTO challenge against European Fuel Quality Directive