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European report says Canadian tar sands are a critical hurdle for climate action

Canadian Tar Sands

OTTAWA – Banning European imports of Canadian tar sands bitumen and freezing tar sands expansion are two key recommendations from a new report, Tar Sands: Europe’s complicity in Canada’s climate crimes, released today by Friends of the Earth Europe in partnership with the Council of Canadians.

But even as the international climate talks are underway in Paris, the new Canadian government still backs growth in the tar sands. Moreover, successful Canadian lobbying against the European Fuel Quality Directive has allowed tar sands bitumen exports to Europe to continue, with almost three-quarters of Europe's oil refineries tar-sands ready (refinery map).

“The Canadian government must recognize that there’s no such thing as ‘sustainable’ development of the tar sands,” says Andrea Harden of the Council of Canadians. “We need to keep temperatures well below a 2-degree increase, and that includes freezing tar sands expansion and planning for 100% fossil free future by 2050. This is critical to a credible Canadian climate change policy. While the Albertan plan is a clear shift in the right direction, climate science demands far more.”

Albertan premier Rachel Notley’s newly released climate plan features important steps for phasing out coal and supporting renewable energy, but the proposed emissions cap allows for a close to 40 per cent increase in tar sands production. Prime Minister Trudeau’s new Foreign Affairs Minister, Stéphane Dion, recently supported “sustainable development” in Canada’s tar sands.   

“Europe must close its doors to climate-killing fuels like tar sands, and Canada must stop digging them up. The first shipments have already arrived in Europe,” says Colin Roche, extractive industries campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe. “If we’re to keep global warming below 2°C we urgently need to make sure tar sands stay in the ground and ban tar sands on the European market.”

Current climate pledges made in advance of the Paris climate negotiations would leave the world on track to 3°C degrees of global warming – and potentially devastating climate impacts for billions of people.

“We’re staring climate destruction in the face, and the Canadian and European pledges for Paris are wildly inadequate,” adds Roche. “If we are to take steps towards the democratic and renewable energy systems we need, and to keep global warming below 2°C, we need to leave tar sands in the ground.”

Report: Tar Sands: Europe’s Complicity in Canada’s Climate Crimes


For more information please contact:

Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy and climate campaigner for the Council of Canadians
aharden@canadians.org Cell: +1 (613) 793-5488 Tel: +1 (613) 233-4487 ext 240

Colin Roche, extractive industries campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe
colin.roche@foeeurope.org Cell: +32 (0) 489 598 984 Tel: +32 (0)2 8931021

IMAGE: Friends of the Earth Europe