Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Canada's EU lobbying offensive gains Norwegian ally

Canada has a new, Scandinavian, ally in its fight against clean energy laws in Europe.

Norway's energy minister recently slammed the European Union's proposed Fuel Quality Directive and announced plans to tour Alberta's oil sands, saying he believes criticisms levelled by environmentalists against the industry are biased.

“It is impossible to not see a future where these resources will play an increasing role in the world’s need for energy," Ola Borten Moe told the Globe and Mail after meeting with Canadian natural resources minister Joe Oliver.

Borten Moe's position is perhaps not surprising, seeing as Statoil, which is two-thirds owned by the Norwegian government, has substantial investments in northern Alberta's oil patch.

Last month, the EU's executive arm approved legislation which officially recognized that fuel from Canada's oil sands has a significantly higher carbon footprint that conventional oil.

That decision cranked a years-long Canadian government lobbying offensive into overdrive. Led by Oliver, federal officials, including former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, have traversed Europe, trying to rile up support for its campaign.

The United Kingdom, Estonia and several other Eastern European countries now support Canada's fight against the Fuel Quality Directive, a policy that aims to shrink the carbon footprint of Europe's transportation sector.

The rationale is that the law, in current form, would create legal incentives against using high-carbon fuel, particularly from Alberta.

"Again, it should be stressed that almost no Canadian oil is exported currently to the EU," Alberta energy minister Ted Morton said recently. "But we’re concerned about standards being set that might be copied elsewhere in the world, where we actually do export to."

Since 2009, the Canadian government has engaged in at least 110 lobby events against the Fuel Quality Directive, according to a Friends of the Earth Europe report.

“The government of Canada has been lobbying us in a manner that is not acceptable,” a Finnish Green Party MEP told the Globe and Mail earlier this year.

European Union member states are set for a final vote on the Fuel Quality Directive in December.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate issues for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus