Blog | February 08, 2012

The Council of Canadians, Climate Action Network Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network have launched a "lobby busting" tour of Ottawa-based EU embassies to counteract lobbying by the Canadian and Albertan governments, along with industry allies, against the EU Fuel Quality Directive, an important European climate policy. Read the media release here.PIA has joined other Canadian civil society groups to endorse an open letter that denounces Canadian lobbying efforts, and supports the European Union Fuel Quality Directive.  Read the open letter to EU ambassadors and decision makers here (PDF).Read more in the following Postmedia article "Green groups blast big-oil lobbying tour":

By Postmedia News A powerful Canadian oil-and-gas industry group has been systematically lobbying European embassies in recent months against proposed climate-change legislation that discourages high-polluting transportation fuels such as crude oil from the oilsands sector, environmental groups said Tuesday.The groups said they discovered the latest lobbying efforts during a series of meetings with ambassadors or deputy heads of embassies from at least eight countries that are now finalizing a policy that is designed to reduce heat-trapping emissions from transportation as part of Europe's plan to slash greenhouse-gas emissions and fight climate change.They said all of the countries told them they were approached by either officials from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers or federal officials who argue that the proposed legislation discriminates against the oilsands sector.Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, confirmed that the industry group met with some European officials in November, noting that it was concerned the climate-change policies were setting average values of oil for countries such as Venezuela, while separating conventional and unconventional oil from Canada into separate categories."Of course, if there are countries that are taking what we consider a discriminatory stance in their policy, then it begs us to be in there and rep-resent our industry," Davies said in an interview.But the Canadian environmentalists said the lobbying efforts fly in the face of peer-reviewed scientific evidence evaluating the carbon footprint of oilsands production and distorts the reality about the European climate policies which actually estimate that other fuels such oil shale and coal converted to liquid fuel are dirtier than fuel from the oilsands.Hannah McKinnon, the campaign's director for Climate Action Network Canada, a coalition of environmental, labour and faith-based groups, said the Canadian government has failed to implement a single policy to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from the Canadian oilsands."Instead of fighting a pollution battle, this government has decided to launch an all-out public-relations war which includes heavy lobbying in regions trying to pass clean-fuel standards such as the European Union Fuel Quality Directive," she said at a news conference on Parliament Hill that launched a "lobby-busting" tour against the oil-sands strategy of governments and industry.During a Canadian tour in November, a member of the European Parliament, Kriton Arsenis, said many politicians in his continent were puzzled by the Canadian government's lobbying efforts, and feared that Canada might be left behind as the world moves forward in expanding a clean-energy economy."It's a very strange position for Europe, because really, for us, Canada is a dear partner," he said.An internal strategy document released last month about the lobbying campaign listed aboriginals as "adversaries" in the federal government's efforts to promote industrial expansion at home and abroad.But a campaigner from the Indigenous Environmental Network's "tarsands" campaign, Clayton Thomas-Muller, said this distorts reality about development and its potential social and health impacts on local communities."We are not adversaries," Thomas-Muller said. "We are the first peoples of this land. We have priorities that take into consideration our place in the sacred circle of life."According to the International Energy Agency, a global partnership of governments that researches and analyzes energy policy, the world has about five years to restructure its fossil-fuel energy infrastructure to avoid emissions that would lock the world into dangerous levels of global warming.

By Postmedia News

This article was published in the Edmonton Journal on February 8, 2012. Read the full article on the Edmonton Journal website.