FQD 101: the significance

The Canadian tar sands are the world’s third largest oil reserve and have the potential to drive the world into climate disaster if fully exploited. Only 4% have been extracted so far, which has already wreaked havoc on the natural environment and local Indigenous people, and made a laughing stock of Canada’s climate targets.

Currently tar sands-derived fuel is not coming into Europe in significant amounts, (although some companies are starting to make plans to increase it), so the FQD would not affect Canada’s current sales. But the industry is set to triple production by 2030, which can only happen if they find new markets for their oil. The future of the tar sands industry will be severely impacted if major potential markets, like the EU, rule out buying tar sands-derived fuels due to their heavy environmental cost. The legislation could set a precedent for other important markets – such as US states – to start avoiding high-carbon fuels. It could also discourage planned tar sands extraction projects in other parts of the world, such as Madagascar.