Investigation shows extent of Canadian government’s
Brussels, 5 August 2011 - The government of Canada is engaging
in an unprecedented lobby effort to open up the European market to oil from its
devastating tar sands, an investigation by Friends of the Earth Europe reveals.
A detailed ‘diary’ compiled by Friends of the Earth shows the
extent of Canadian efforts to block EU plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
from fossil fuels.
Darek Urbaniak, extractives industries spokesperson for
Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “The Canadian government has
undermined independent science, deliberately misled and done everything in its
power to undermine and delay the Fuel Quality Directive. This is possibly the
most vociferous public relations campaign by a foreign government ever
witnessed in the EU and is reminiscent of the tobacco industry in its attempt
to delay action on health.
“Tar sands are the most climate hostile energy source in
commercial production today. While Europe is working to reduce fossil fuels
emissions Canada is trying to undermine this process. European decision makers
must take into account the real carbon footprint of tar sands and not to give
in to Canadian pressure,” he added.
Documents obtained by Friends of the Earth show that for over a
year the Canadians have employed a secret ‘Pan-European Oil Sands Advocacy
Plan’ aimed at undermining EU policy on climate change and ensuring
unrestricted imports of oil from the Alberta tar sands to Europe. To implement
the plan and push the pro-tar sands message the Canadians have created a
special ‘Oil Sands Advocacy Team’.
The public relations campaign has included more than 110 events
organised by the Canadians on tar sands, studies, visits from Canadian and
Albertan politicians to Europe, visits by EU decision makers to the tar sands
region, and constant lobbying of members of the European Parliament. The
Canadians have deliberately downplayed the climate impact of tar sands and cast
doubt on independent scientific studies.
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 (GHGs) than conventional oil
For more information please contact:
Darek Urbaniak, Extractive Industries campaigner for Friends of
the Earth Europe, Tel: +32 495 460 258 (Belgian mobile),
Francesca Gater, communications officer, Friends of the Earth
Europe, Tel: +32 (0) 485 930515, francesca.gater[at]foeeurope.org
 ‘Canada’s dirty lobby diary - Undermining the EU Fuel
Quality Directive’: is available here.
 Tar sands exploitation also destroys pristine boreal forest
and peatlands, produces huge quantities of toxic waste, pollutes air and water,
devastates local wildlife and threatens the traditional livelihoods of