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Decision to ban tar sands blown into the open as ministers asked to step in

Press release - February 23, 2012
Brussels – A meeting of EU country representatives to decide on an effective ban of climate-wrecking fuels, such as those produced from tar sands, has ended in stalemate, said Greenpeace. The decision to implement the EU’s fuel quality directive and its agreed objective of cutting carbon emissions from fuels by 6 percent by 2020 now lies with European environment ministers, who are expected to vote on the matter in June.

Widespread destruction at Shell's Albian Sands mining project in Northern Alberta in 2009. Extracting the crude oil called bitumen from underneath unspoiled wilderness requires a massive industrialised effort with far-reaching impacts on the land, air, water, and climate.


The issue has been the subject of a furious back-room lobby offensive by the government of Canada, backed by global oil companies, which are set to profit from environmentally destructive tar sands extraction. Canada sits on what is probably the world’s third biggest oil reserve, but most of it is locked up in tar sands.

Tar sands oil produces 23 percent more climate emissions than conventional fuels, Stanford University found in a report for the European Commission.

Greenpeace EU transport policy adviser Franziska Achterberg said: “Now that the tar sands issue is finally in the hands of publicly accountable ministers, we will see who’s pulling the strings in Europe. The evidence is clear: tar sands are the world’s dirtiest fuels. The decision is even clearer: ministers should stand up to the oil industry and ban them from Europe.”

Franziska Achterberg – Greenpeace EU transport policy adviser: +32 (0)498 362403 (mobile),

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911,

Video: footage of tar sands extraction in Canada; free use (please credit Greenpeace):

/gpi_video_upload/Tar_Sands">ftp:///gpi_video_upload/Tar_Sands (Password: v1d301n)

Pictures: images of tar sands extraction in Canada and Greenpeace actions; free use (please credit Greenpeace and photographer):



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