Canadian Government Partnered With Polluting Industry to Fight US Climate Action

stop tar sands photo

photo: Diane Worth/Creative Commons

Considering the considerable official enthusiasm for the highly polluting and carbon intensive Alberta tar sands, this really isn't so surprising: According to correspondence obtained by the Pembina Institute, the Canadian Government is "pursuing an orchestrated strategy to undermine US effort to combat climate change" and partnered with polluters to fight US effort to reduce emissions from high-carbon fuels. This combines with documents obtained by the Climate Action Network which show, "the Harper government is aggressively intervening in Europe and the United States to kill clean energy policies in the name of promoting the tar sands."

Overall the documents illustrate three parallel stories, Pembina says:

1) Efforts going back to 2007 by the Canadian government to lobby against legislation in California to block high-carbon fuels and reduce the carbon intensity of California's transportation system--even though Canadian fuel makes up just 2% of California's fuel mix.

2) Attempts (which failed) to stop broadly similar requirements at the national level, which require the US government to buy fuels of higher environmental performance standards.

3) Fighting against European Union efforts to classify fuels based on carbon content from high to low carbon.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz of the NRDC commented on the Canadian efforts:

A friendly neighbor does not secretly try to undermine your clean energy jobs and efforts to fight climate change. The greed for tar sands oil is not only harming the Boreal forest, it is harming the North American clean energy future.


All of this comes as email excerpts dating back to 2008 from a Canadian embassy staffer who wrote to government trade lawyers saying, "we hope that we can find a solution to ensure that the oil keeps a-flowing." (It's Getting Hot In Here)

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