In a highly anticipated vote, a European Union committee of
technical experts failed to reach a decision on
whether to approve a European Commission proposal to classify
oilsands crude oil as more harmful to the environment than other
forms of fuel. The proposal will now go to a council of EU
ministers, with a final decision expected by June.
The proposal by the European Commission, the EU's
executive arm, would constitute a revision of the EU's Fuel
Quality Directive, which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 6% from
2010 levels by 2020. The proposal would not ban oilsands crude oil,
but it would assign it a greater carbon footprint than conventional
crude oil. Under the proposal, oilsands crude oil would be deemed
to emit 22% more greenhouse gas by weight than average crude
A "qualified majority" – 255 votes from a
total of 345 – was needed to accept or reject the
proposal. The committee voted as follows: 89 points in favour of
the proposal, 128 against, and 128 abstained.
Key to the result was the abstention of France, Britain, and the
Netherlands, home to oil companies with significant oilsands
Europe does not directly buy crude oil from the oilsands, but
Canada's concern is presumably that it any adverse
conclusion by the EU may damage the image of the oilsands, set a
precedent for possible similar actions in other jurisdictions, and
affect potential future sales.
Canada has lobbied against the proposal for months, arguing that
it is discriminatory and could hinder trade relationships. It has
even threatened to take the
matter to the World Trade Organization if the committee approved
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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