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FoEE comment - Europe defies Canadian pressure on tar sands

05 October 2011
by foeeurope -- last modified 05 October 2011

Friends of the Earth Europe has welcomed a decision by the European Commission to take steps to prevent oil from tar sands entering the European market.


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The European Commission has announced it will assign higher carbon emission values to oil from tar sands than to other sources of fossil fuels in the Fuel Quality Directive - the EU initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

Darek Urbaniak, extractive industries campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The EU Commission has sent a clear message to Canadian and US policy makers that Europe does not want dirty fossil fuels. This is a bold step towards climate protection and is in defiance of unprecedented lobbying by the Canadian government and by the oil industry. Hopefully this decision indicates the beginning of the end of the drive toward unconventional fossil fuels development.

Darek Urbaniak added: "This success could not have been achieved without strong support from campaign groups both in Europe and North America."  

The proposal still needs to be approved by national governments in the coming months. 

Tar sands are the most climate hostile energy source in commercial production today. Producing oil from tar sands emits on average three to five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production.

The government of Canada has engaged in veciferous lobby efforts to block EU plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

Friends of the Earth Europe campaigns for sustainable and just societies and for the protection of the environment, unites 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups and is part of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International.

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