An Taisce calls on Government to resist the Canadian Tar Sands Lobby

15th January 2013
Press Release

An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland is calling on the Government, in its role of EU President, to resist the attempts by the Canadian Government to have fuel derived from Bitumen or Tar Sands treated leniently in the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). A delegation from the Canadian Government is due in Dublin on this Thursday 17th as part of a European tour to lobby to have the FQD changed in their favour.

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications Office with An Taisce stated “The Fuel Quality Directive is an important directive in reducing climate change emissions in Europe’s transportation sector and helping Europe meet its Greenhouse Gas reduction targets.”

He continued: “Ireland voted to include bitumen/tar sands and other unconventional fuels in the FQD and the EU must resist this cynical attempt by the Canadians to selfishly change the rules on behalf of one of the world’s dirtiest industries”.

Oil from tar sands is filthy, causing from18% to 49% more climate pollution than conventional oil. This is largely due to the huge amount of energy and transport movements needed to extract oil out of raw bitumen. Under these EU plans, it will cost more to import oil derived from tar sands because of the pollution caused in their extraction.

Despite its protests, Canada is not treated differently to any other country. Under the EU proposal, all fuel produced from tar sands is to become subject to the same measures irrespective of where it is produced

These moves by Canada are solely about protecting their commercial interests in Alberta, where they have already approved enough tar sands projects to bring the world to the catastrophic 6 degree global warming scenario outlined by the International Energy Authority (IEA). Canada itself will not be able to avoid the future climate change consequences of trying to dodge its environmental obligations with this aggressive lobbying.

The EU has supported the inclusion of tar sands in the FQD and has a strong record in cleaning up transport fuels, for instance, without EU action there would still be lead in petrol - with all its negative health impacts.

Ireland has supported this EU legislation, and An Taisce urges the Government to maintain that support and resist the Canadian Tar Sands Lobby.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications – Tel: 087 2411995

James Nix, Operations Director, An Taisce – Tel: 086 8394129

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes:

  1. FQD Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission reduction:

Part of the EU’s transport emission reduction is to be achieved by the introduction of better fuel efficiency in vehicles. Another major source of GHGs is in the extraction, refining and distribution of the fuels. Under the FQD, suppliers are obliged to reduce ‘the Lifecycle GHG intensity’ of transport fuel by 6% by 2020 compared with 2010. In its calculations the EU treats fuel derived from coal, oil shale and bitumen/tar sands more harshly than conventional crude, as these have higher energy costs and thus higher GHGs in their extraction and refining.

The FQD proposes a set of default values, given below for petrol, to estimate the emissions in producing fuel from various sources (or feedstocks).

from conventional crude oil 87.5g CO2/MJ from gas 97g CO2/MJ from natural bitumen/tar sands 107g CO2/MJ from shale oil 131.3g CO2/MJ from coal 172g CO2/MJ

  1. Alberta’s Tar Sand Projects : http://priceofoil.org/2012/11/01/tar-sands-planned-growth-is-3x-climate-limit/
  2. Transport and Environment on Canadian lobbying: http://www.transportenvironment.org/newsroom/blog/getting-facts-straight-tar-sands Transport and Environment are a European NGO campaigning for Smarter, Greener Transport in Europe.
  3. Transport and Environment’s briefing on the Fuel Quality Directive FQD http://www.transportenvironment.org/sites/te/files/media/2012%2005%2007%20FQD%20briefing.pdf
  4. Energy required to extract energy out of tar sands – National Resources Defense Council (NRDC – USA) see http://docs.nrdc.org/energy/ene_10070101.asp)
  5. Reuters on Canada’s lobbying on tar sands http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/10/us-oil-sands-idUSBRE8490OL20120510