BREAKING UPDATE: EU blocks passage of Canada’s ‘tar sands’ ranking
The vote by a European Commission committee to label Alberta oil sands as a highly polluting source of oil has failed.
Proponents of the tar sand fuel quality directive listing failed to win a majority of votes in favor, but neither was there a majority to kill the proposal. As a result, the directive will be taken up by a committee of EU ministers in the coming months. Action is still needed below!
The European Union is still considering legislation under EU’s Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) that would label oil from Canadian tar sands as being “highly polluting”. This is entirely appropriate given the massive amount of carbon to be released from tar sand burning and deforestation – and that producing oil from tar sands emits three times the global warming pollution as conventional oil, requires excessive amounts of energy and fresh water, and destroys huge swaths of ancient boreal forest land, severely impacting their indigenous inhabitants. When Alberta, Canada's tar sands are fully developed, along with its vast proposed pipeline network, North America, China, and much of the world will be further addicted to filthy, life destroying fossil fuel energy for decades. Pipeline construction will cause massive erosion, forest fragmentation, riparian habitat damage, and near certain leaks – dramatically impacting everything from Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer to British Columbia’s temperate rainforests and indigenous salmon economy.
There is virtually no chance of maintaining an operable atmosphere and achieving global ecological sustainability should tar sands production continue, much less expand. To avoid collapse of our one shared biosphere, the human family should be urgently reducing emissions and transitioning to renewable energy, not enabling decades of further fossil fuel dependence. Tars sands must rightly be labeled as “highly polluting” in order to promote better energy choices. The human family’s future energy needs require much greater energy efficiency and conservation, and the development of critical renewable and energy-saving technologies and policies. Creating a new dangerous fossil fuel addiction moves Earth that much closer to abrupt climate change and global ecosystem collapse. Along with ending the use of coal, and protecting primary forests and restoring old growth forests, dismantling tar sands is a keystone response to achieving global ecological sustainability upon which all life is dependent.
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Before and After: This is what tar sands ecocide looks like (click for larger image)
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