Canada ready to fight EU over “dirty oil sands” vote


The European Union will vote this Thursday on a measure that could have a profound effect on Canada’s oil sands should the EU opt to classify Canadian oil as dirtier than regular oil. The Ottawa Citizen reports that Canadian EU ambassador David Plunkett has threatened a trade war against the block if the vote portrays the oil sands in a negative way.

The European Commission has recommended that oil derived from oil sands be considered 22 per cent more polluting than regular crude. If EU officials side with the recommendation, European importers of Canadian oil would see higher tariffs.

The Citizen article cites several Canadian officials fretting that the vote could be a PR nightmare for the oil sands that could hurt future dealings with countries all over the world, even if the EU is not currently a major buyer. It also cites a letter by Plunkett to Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, saying Canada will take action if the vote represents a threat to the oil sands: “I want to state that Canada will explore every avenue at its disposal to defend its interests, including at the World Trade Organization.”

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Canada ready to fight EU over “dirty oil sands” vote

  1. If theres scientific proof, wether from the ideological left or right, they will get their way

  2. Kind of a rock and hard place. Fact is, it is more emissions intensive than other oil. Other fact is that they’re absolutely right it’d be a PR disaster and will make life harder for Canadians.

    Should life be harder? Well.. we’re kind of getting a free ride on the emissions right now which will affect everywhere, so probably.
    Do I want it to be? uh.. no.

    • Read the article carefully.

      It looks like the researcher has compared simply extracting the oil with actually burning the coal and gas.

      To get an apples-apples comparison he not only needs to add the emissions generated by producing the coal and gas — both of which are minimal in comparison, he also needs to add the emissions generated burning the oil, which is not minimal.

      Then on top of all that, he needs to compare the energy we expect to obtain from each source.  If using up all the shale gas gives us 3x the energy at 2x the emissions of oilsands oil, that’s actually a better deal.

      Now — perhaps he’s done all this, but if he has, then that article writer certainly cherry-picked the facts he wanted to give us.

      • If you read the second article (cited next to this one in the Globe and Mail), you will see where Weaver discusses the emissions related to burning the oil v. coal & shale gas.

        • Actually, that’s kind of interesting, because I got from this article 
 which was one of the ones listed in the first one that “Dr. Weaver’s analysis only accounts for emissions from burning the fuel. It doesn’t count greenhouse gases released by producing the resource because that would double-count those emissions.”

          That seems a pretty significant hole (not to mention a direct contradiction of the other article) because what’s generally stated about the oil sands is that it’s their production that is particularly emissions intensive.

          If he’s only counting emissions from burning what was produced, then really, what does where or how it was produced have to do with it at all?  All he’s really measured here is emission totals of oil vs coal vs shale, and even that STILL isn’t anything to do with emissions intensity, but may be simply to do with total amounts of the resource available. Two barrels of oil being used probably won’t create near the emissions of three tanker trunks full of shale gas, for example, even if shale gas is a lot cleaner burning.

          • What I got from the 2 articles was that we are trying to keep the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees.  Carbon emission cause the temperature to rise.  If you burn all the oil in the world, the temperature would rise 1 degree.  If you throw in the production due to oil sands, you are looking at a resulting miniscule rise in temp .025-.036 of a degree.  If you burn the coal, you are looking at a 15 degree rise in global temperature. 

          • Yup. But the other side of that equation is, will all the oil in the world satisfy our need for energy?  And if it won’t.. what’s the least emissions that we’ll need to do so?

          • Okay so oil will not meet the world’s requirements BUT if we are going to pick on a carbon emitter should be pick on the oilsands or should we try to lessen our dependance on coal first?  Of course we should try to use less of all kinds of energy but lets be honest about the ones that have the biggest impact on the world and go after them first.

          • “All he’s really measured here is emission totals of oil vs coal vs shale, and even that STILL isn’t anything to do with emissions intensity, but may be simply to do with total amounts of the resource available.”

            Choosing some other source of energy over oil sands on the wholly on basis of “emissions intensity” is akin to preferring to be beaten 10 times with a 24 oz bat instead of once with a 30 ouncer.

          • Or 10 times with a 0.5 oz bat instead of 3 times with a 30 ouncer.

            I can pull crap from my arse too. I’m just bright enough to know when it stinks.

    • Yes, funny how Robert Redford and all the so-called environmentalists give coal a pass….hmm, wonder what that is about.

  3. I guess that means the environmentalists won’t have to beg EU countries to impose trade sanctions against Canada for its dirty oil. The Conservatives will do that for us!

    • Do you realize that 13 percent of Canada’s carbon emissions come from coal-fired electricity, while 8 percent come from farting cows and only 3 to 5 percent come from that so-called dirty oil.  Canada definitely has to make some changes but maybe we should start with the highest of the three.

  4. Good.


  6. Do they take an the oil spill cleanups in the ocean into consideration???