Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
The subject of Canadian oil from tar sands (oil sands) has reared its very ugly head again this week. This oil is extracted from sand and the very process of extraction uses more energy than can be obtained from burning the oil. Also causing great concern is the environmental degradation caused by extracting the oil that leaves areas of land polluted and unusable. People who live near the sites where oil is extracted have reported negative health effects and illnesses.
The European Union (EU) has been working hard to finalise the details of their Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) that requires that suppliers reduce greenhouse gas emissions of the fuel they supply by 6% by 2020. Oil sands fuel is highly polluting and produces 22% more greenhouse gas emissions than lighter oils.
Canada looks upon this fuel as a proven strategic resource and several of the big oil companies have interests there involving huge investments. It is keen for its fuel not to be labelled as ‘dirty’, thus discouraging other nations from using it. It has lobbied governments, including our own, oil companies and banks to mitigate the effects of the EU directive.
At a time when we need to be reducing our use of fossil fuels and cutting our carbon emissions, the UK government is actively involved in trying to avoid probable EU sanctions against tar sand oil. Far from being the ‘greenest government ever’ it is guilty of putting big business first over the needs of the planet.