Canada has threatened a trade war with European Union over the bloc's plan to label oil from Alberta's vast tar sands as highly polluting, the Guardian can reveal, before a key vote in Brussels on 23 February.
"Canada will not hesitate to defend its interests, including at the World Trade Organisation," state letters sent to European commissioners by Canada's ambassador to the EU and its oil minister, released under freedom of information laws.
The move is a significant escalation of the row over the EU's plans, which Canada fears would set a global precedent and derail its ability to exploit its tar sands, which are the biggest fossil fuel reserve in the world after Saudi Arabia. Environmental groups argue that exploitation of the tar sands, also called oil sands, is catastrophic for the global climate, as well as causing serious air and water pollution in Alberta.
Darek Urbaniak, at Friends of the Earth Europe, which obtained the new documents, said: "These letters are further evidence of Canadian government and industry lobbying, which continuously undermines efforts to combat climate change. We find it unacceptable that the Canadian government now openly uses direct threats at the highest political levels to derail crucial EU climate legislation."
Edited by olpfan1, 20 February 2012 - 10:42 PM.