European Lawmakers Vote to Pursue Tar Sands Oil Friendly Trade Deal with Canada

European Lawmakers Vote to Pursue Tar Sands Oil Friendly Trade Deal with Canada
on

EU lawmakers today voted for the European Parliament to push ahead with a trade deal that could encourage Canadian tar sand oil imports and make it easier for energy companies to sue governments when environmental policies threaten their profits.

The UK’s international trade minister, Liam Fox, last year circumvented parliament to approve the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. The deal now has to be approved by European policymakers.

MEPs in the committee charged with overseeing environmental regulation today voted 40 to 24 for the European Parliament to back the deal, Reuters reports. A final decision is expected in February.

Writing in The Ecologist ahead of the vote, Mark Dearn from campaign group War on Want said the deal had already “put rocket boosters under runaway climate change by bringing high-polluting tar sands oil into Europe”.

Reacting to the vote, he told DeSmog UK:

“The committee’s decision on CETA is an utter disgrace. It flies in the face of a wealth of evidence showing CETA to be bad news for the environment, food and health – not least that the EU sacrificed its own climate change legislation to appease the tar sands demands of Big Oil companies and the Canadian and US governments.”

Campaigners are also concerned that the deal will make it easier for companies to sue governments that use environmental regulations to try and move their economies away from fossil fuels.

A mechanism called investor-state dispute settlements is included in the deal, and could allow companies to sue countries that ban tar sands oil. Companies have used the mechanism in Canada to oppose fracking moratoriums, and in Germany to protest the closure of nuclear power plants.

The Canadian government has also objected to EU chemical regulations on over 20 occasions between 2003 and 2011, EnergyDesk has previously revealed, leading to concerns that companies could use CETA to undermine those rules.

Update 12/01/2017 – A quote from Mark Dearn was added. A sentence on chemical regulations was also added.

Main image credit: Dru Oja Jay, Dominion via Flickr CC BYSA

Get Weekly News Updates

European Lawmakers Vote to Pursue Tar Sands Oil Friendly Trade Deal with Canada
Mat is Special Projects and Investigations Editor of DeSmog, and Operations Director of DeSmog UK Ltd. He was DeSmog UK’s Editor from October 2017 to March 2021, having previously been an editor at Nature Climate Change and analyst at Carbon Brief.

Related Posts

on

The fossil fuel industry spends millions of dollars on shaping its image in an effort to block climate action. A new analysis shows a relatively small number of PR firms have aided this campaign from behind the scenes over the last three decades.

The fossil fuel industry spends millions of dollars on shaping its image in an effort to block climate action. A new analysis shows a relatively small number of PR firms have aided this campaign from behind the scenes over the last three decades.
Opinion
on

The fossil fuel industry is pushing for the U.S. government to support methods to capture its climate pollution. But how effective are these "carbon management" approaches, and what are their consequences?

The fossil fuel industry is pushing for the U.S. government to support methods to capture its climate pollution. But how effective are these "carbon management" approaches, and what are their consequences?
on

Marcus Fysh, the MP for Yeovil, also has a stake in two banks that have financed billions in fossil fuels.

Marcus Fysh, the MP for Yeovil, also has a stake in two banks that have financed billions in fossil fuels.
on

A D.C.-based think tank with ties to fossil fuel money claims that shutting down the aging Line 5 pipeline would hurt Black communities in Michigan. Community activists say otherwise.

A D.C.-based think tank with ties to fossil fuel money claims that shutting down the aging Line 5 pipeline would hurt Black communities in Michigan. Community activists say otherwise.