(Feb. 17, our friends across the pond hold the largest climate protest in U.S. history -- a call for real leadership to move #ForwardOnClimate)
In solidarity with those resisting tar sands and other carbon-intensive industries across the world, we urge Nick Clegg and the UK government to back the labelling of tar sands-derived fuel as highly polluting in the EU Fuel Quality Directive (FQD).
As residents and supporters of the community of Pembrokeshire, Wales, we are particularly concerned that US refining company Valero Energy may already be receiving imports of diesel derived from tar sands into the UK, via its Pembroke Refinery, and may have plans to rapidly increase them. We believe that Europe should not be opening its doors to tar sands fuels, and we do not want to see increasing amounts coming in via Pembrokeshire’s oil refineries. We call upon the government, which is being heavily influenced by Canadian and oil industry lobbyists, to stop disputing the inclusion of a default high-emission value for tar sands-derived fuel.
Tar sands are undoubtedly one of the world's most greenhouse gas-intensive fuels, and the process of extraction uses vast amounts of fresh water and natural gas, destroying large tracts of forest, leaving lakes of toxic pollution, poisoning the ground water and directly impacting numerous indigenous communities. With extraction rates set to at least double by 2035, even the conservative IEA admits that this could mean a 6 degree global temperature rise. If new markets for tar sands are cut off, projected extraction rates will be forced to slow. The FQD is key to not only closing off Europe as a large new market, but to setting a precedent for other states and jurisdictions to follow suit.
We ask that at the FQD vote in 2013, you join other EU countries, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament, in ensuring that tar sands are labelled as highly polluting. We urge you to include this value for tar sands immediately, rather than waiting for the eventual inclusion of other fuels, as the imminent expansion of the highly polluting industry will depend on whether measures like the FQD are in place.
Without this legislation we risk locking the EU into fossil fuel dependency for the foreseeable future, accelerating tar sands expansion, and pushing the world towards catastrophic climate change.