EU vote puts Canadian tar sands label back on the agenda

(Reuters) – Europe moved a step back towards a plan to stigmatize Canada’s tar sands as highly polluting on Wednesday, despite years of Ottawa’s lobbying the EU bloc as part of its export drive.

ceta_tarsands_action_2011European Parliament lawmakers put the plans back on the agenda by voting against the EU executive’s proposal to abandon the scheme.

The veto vote was passed at committee level, meaning it still has to get through a full session of the European Parliament in the coming weeks in order to force the European Commission to come up with a new proposal. Getting plenary agreement would be much harder than clearing a committee.

In October, the executive Commission published a new plan for reporting the greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuels, which removed a requirement to have separate values for different types of oil.

That meant tar sands, also known as oil sands, would no longer have to be differentiated from conventional crude, with lower overall greenhouse gas emissions, and that it would make it much easier for the unconventional oil to reach the European market…