The EU is negotiating a Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) which aims to encourage the use of low-carbon transport fuels and discourage the use of high-emission fuels. In principle, the target of reducing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions from road transport by 6% before 2020 has been agreed, as part of the EU’s emission reductions targets.
Now they are haggling over how to put the principle into practice. The proposed methodology is a labelling system which gives different types of fuel different values based on the amount of greenhouse gas they emit throughout their entire lifecycle – from being extracted from the ground to being burned in engines, and everything in between. Tar sands oil is extremely energy-intensive to extract, so based on an independent study, the EU has proposed to label it as producing 23% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude.
Combined with the requirement for companies to reduce their emissions by 6%, this dirty label on tar sands fuel would strongly discourage the import of tar sands-derived products into Europe.