Take Action for a Tar Sands-Free Europe

After being delayed for over a year, the EU is set to vote on the Fuel Quality Directive, legislation that would effectively ban tar sands from European import. The vote is scheduled to take place in June 2013.

Under intense lobbying from the Canadian Government, keen to create new markets for its dirty oil and stop the EU from setting a precedent for the rest of the world to follow, the UK Government has so far refused to support the European Commission’s proposal, and actively encouraged other states to oppose it.

Keep the pressure up!

Since November 2011, over 800 People & Planet supporters have written to Under Secretary of State for Transport and self-proclaimed environmentalist, Norman Baker, telling him to vote for the ban.

In 2012, over 16,000 of us wrote to him and Nick Clegg asking for a Tar Sands-free Europe. It worked. Together we shifted the UK’s vote from a NO to an abstention - a huge victory for people power!

With the vote once again imminent, we want to raise the pressure on Norman Baker and his boss Nick Clegg, to make the EU tarsands ban a crucial issue for LibDems in the Coalition government and secure a YES vote. Supporting a tar sands ban in the EU is essential to maintaining the Liberal Democrat party’s strong reputation on the environment.

Closing the doors on dirty oil

With Barack Obama’s recent move to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, (which aimed to pump tar sands from Alberta to Texas), and growing First Nations protests against a proposed Enbridge pipeline to Canada’s west coast (to supply eastern markets, such as China) the world’s doors are closing to Canada’s dirty oil. Without the demand, industry cannot justify its planned expansion.

Please take action below by emailing Nick Clegg and Transport Minister Norman Baker

This action is no longer active.

When the action was active, this was our suggested text.

Support the EU Fuel Quality Directive

Dear Ministers I am writing to you with regards to the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) and the importance of the UK voting to close the EU’s doors to Canadian tar sands (and other high polluting fuel sources). I understand that the UK will be voting on this issue at a European level later in 2013. I believe the Liberal Democrats are key to ensuring the UK continues to take a lead on climate action internationally and making sure that we can achieve the EU's proposed 6% reductions in transport emissions by 2020. On 3 October 2011 the European Commission published its proposals for the FQD, which included a default value for tar sands oil, listing its emissions as 23% higher than those of conventional crude oil. I understand that the UK abstained from the vote on 4 October to pass the EU Fuel Quality Directive and that the government continues to advocate for an alternative implementing methodology and ‘to have discussions with colleagues in other member states to ensure all heavy crudes are dealt with, not simply oil sands.’ I am writing to express serious concerns about the UK’s current position and ask you to reconsider. As a student I already feel badly let down by the Liberal Democrats and wish to see stronger action from within the government to protect the climate for my generation and future generations. The current FQD proposal includes a review clause stating that higher intensity conventional crudes will have values assigned no later than 2015. The European Commission has said it will introduce these values as soon as the data is available. This is no reason to delay the FQD and let most intensive fuels, which have data available now, off the hook. Whilst there is some variance in conventional crude emissions, on average none are anywhere near as carbon intensive as tar sands and other unconventional sources. Not supporting the FQD gives the oil industry a free pass to continue to increase the carbon intensity of its products and particularly to Canada to continue expanding what is already dubbed 'the most destructive industrial project on earth'. If we do not clearly label tar sands as unacceptable now, we put the EU at a much more serious risk, as new infrastructure and markets are developed for dirty oil, locking the continent into fossil fuel dependency for the foreseeable future. I believe it is crucial that the UK government votes in support of the current legislation, while acknowledging that changes will be needed as default values for other fuels become available (as the current wording already ensures). If this is indeed going to be ‘the greenest government ever’, you personally must stand up for cleaner fuels and a low-carbon future by supporting the Commission’s proposals for this landmark climate change legislation As the world’s most climate-hostile transport fuel in commercial production today, a strong market signal is urgently required to show that tar sands have no role to play in achieving a low-carbon economy. In early 2013 the Lib Dems have an opportunity to stand up for the values of environmentalism and sustainability that have helped your party achieve its current position in government. I don't want to hear any more apologies from Lib Dems over broken promises, so I hope you will seize this chance and ensure that the UK votes yes to the EU Fuel Quality Directive. Sincerely,

Read our response to Nick Clegg’s reply letter

People & Planet has been working in partnership with The Co-operative, UK Tar Sands Network, Lush, Greenpeace UK, the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) and others to challenge the UK’s stance on the Fuel Quality Directive.