EU row over Canada’s “dirty oil”
Feb.22 – Canada says it will take the European Union to the World Trade Organization in protest if it labels oil sands as highly polluting in a key vote on Thursday. See: http://uk.reuters.com/ Video (1:39)
“This field of dirt is at the centre of a row between Canada and Europe. It’s oil sand from which Canada extracts fuel. The European Union considers it highly polluting and is about to vote on whether to include oil sands in a bill ranking the most carbon-intensive fuels. The move has angered many in Canada. They say fuel from oil sands doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide as coal. Canada is also home to the world’s third-largest oil reserves and almost all of it comes from sand. It’s accused the EU of discrimination and is threatening to complain to the World Trade Organization. Travis Davis from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says the law would create an unreasonable administrative burden. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TRAVIS DAVIS, CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF PETROLEUM PRODUCERS, SAYING: “You look at other jurisdictions doing fuel quality standards – we maintain that this is poor example of a policy that isn’t going to reward performance enhancement, or being transparent.” Alberta holds some of the largest oil sand deposits. Cal Dallas from the region’s legislative assembly, says they are committed to its production. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CAL DALLAS, PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ALBERTA, SAYING: “We are going to responsibly extract and develop that resource. We have a responsibility to market that on behalf of Albertans. There’s a net benefit for Canadians, and North Americans as a whole.” But environmentalists say there is firm scientific evidence supporting the EU view that oil sands crude is more polluting than oil from other sources. They say a shift to greener energy would avoid the need to extract every last drop of oil.” Ciara Sutton, Reuters.
“The move has angered many in Canada. They say fuel from oil sands doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide as coal.” This is a silly argument that any thinking person (Except Joe Oliver, Ezra Levant and co) can see through. Yes coal when burned for energy produces more GHGs than oil sands oil. But, the production of oil sands oil is so energy intensive the GHGs produced far outweigh the benefits diminishing the value.
Unless the governments of Canada and Alberta place proper environmental restrictions on the oil sands producers, the oil sands will forever be classed as “Dirty Oil”. No country (except Canada and China) wants to be associated with encouraging the no. 1 single source of GHG in the world.
If the oil sands cannot be environmentally and ecologically properly developed, then perhaps that oil is better off left in the ground. Otherwise the cost to Canadians, who will be left with the clean-up bill, and the world, who bear the brunt of GHG pollution, is far too high.