Canada's Pro-Oil Lobbying Efforts: On the Wrong Side of History

The European Union failed to achieve a decisive vote today on its Fuels Quality Directive and will need to revisit the issue in June of this year, after an intense lobbying campaign by Canadian government officials and Big Oil. The standards would cut European dependence on oil while reducing carbon pollution. 

The Canadian and oil-lobbying machine first started in California, fighting our state’s low carbon fuel standard, then moved on to the Northeast to fight their Clean Fuels Standard, and is now in Europe to push back on their standards.  

The lobbying efforts may have delayed the decision to regulate high-polluting sources of fuels, but ultimately the Canadian government and oil companies will find themselves on the wrong side of history. The issue will now go before the European environmental ministers in June, where the expectation is that the EU will vote in support of the science showing the need to properly account for high-carbon fuels. Time and time again, efforts to slow down environmental standards haven’t worked in the long-run. The Canadian government – and the oil companies they are representing – should focus instead on investing to meet clean fuel standards instead of trying to undermine and delay them.  

Fundamentally, the Canadian government is sacrificing the wonderful reputation their citizens enjoy by running interference in other people’s backyards and lobbing threats of trade wars across the fence.  The tax-payer funded, pro-oil lobbying trips now revealed in the press during the past several weeks are very troubling indeed (here and here).

It’s strangely hypocritical to now see Canadian government pointing the finger at others for interfering in Canada’s business. Last time I checked, Canada was lobbying in our backyards against California, Northeast, and European environmental standards. At the end, it’s up to Canadian citizens and the public in the U.S. and Europe to bring their politicians and government officials onto the right side of history. We need to make sure our officials are accountable for representing the interests of their own citizens, the environment, and a sustainable clean energy future before those of the oil industry.

About the Authors

Simon Mui

Director, California Vehicles and Fuels, Energy & Transportation program

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