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  • Canada’s tar sands denial undermined by leaked letter

    A letter leaked to the Reuters news agency confirms that Canada has threatened the EU over European concerns about the environmental performance of petrol and diesel derived from tar sands. Canada originally denied rumours that it had threatened that the EU’s concerns about tar sands oil could affect an emerging trade agreement between the EU and Canada.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]But the leaked letter, dated 18 March and sent by Canada’s ambassador to the EU, appears to contradict that denial. Reuters says the letter, though phrased diplomatically, leaves EU officials in little doubt they are being threatened with action at the World Trade Organisation, and also possible impacts on EU-Canada trade talks if the EU gives a higher environmental impact value to oil derived from tar sands and shale compared with conventional oil. Canada is the leading producer of tar sands oil, and while it does not export much to the EU, it is worried that a bad environmental value in Europe would blunt the market for much of Canada’s oil industry.