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.”