Embarrassment as Canada’s tar sands lobbying strategy is revealed

A damaging report has revealed that the Canadian government has been deliberately trying to attack European climate change policies that would force producers of oil extracted from tar sands to reduce greenhouse gases.

The government's ‘pan-European oilsands advocacy strategy’, which has been made public through access to information rules, sets out lobbying aims, notably campaigning against the EU Fuel Quality Directive by targeting influential politicians, especially from the ruling parties. It specifically calls for a ‘reframing of the European debate on oilsands in a manner that protects and advances Canada’s interests related to the oilsands and broader Canadian interests in Europe.’

It also talks about indigenous Canadians and environmental campaigners as ‘adversaries’, and lists the independent oil industry regulator and oil companies as ‘allies’. Such language forced government ministers onto the defensive when the strategy was published, with several saying they did not support the strategy’s division into allies and adversaries.

The Fuel Quality Directive is proposing higher emissions values for oil produced from high-carbon fuel sources such as tar sand,  oil shale and ‘coal-to-liquid’ to reflect the additional greenhouse gases emitted during production.

Eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates have written to the 27 EU heads of State and to the ministers of the environment, urging them to take action to force fuels produced from tar sands or coal-to-liquid either to clean up or to be banned from Europe.