LETTER: Tar sands is no bandwagon

IN response to Margaret Wilmot’s letter (December 16) if she knows anything about the tar sands she should realise that it is not “a bandwagon issue”.

People have been campaigning on this for many years in association with Canadian 1st Nations people.

In opposition Norman Baker co-sponsored a parliamentary petition on March 10, 2010, which concluded that continued expansion of tar sands extraction “is incompatible with the emissions reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change”. For the full text see www.

parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/ 1055.

The whole point about the current row is that he ignores the review clause in the existing EU proposal which will provide the “comprehensive legislation” Margaret wants and instead makes out that Canada and tar sands are being “singled out”.

If anything, it is our Government which is “singling” them out because it seems to want special support for Canada and this highly polluting fuel.

It is very telling that Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty because it is miserably failing its carbon emissions reductions targets due to its tar sands activities.

Any delay caused by Mr Baker in assigning the tar sands the Specific Greenhouse Gas value could mean that production becomes unstoppable and extraction will spread to poorer countries with even weaker environmental and human rights protection than Canada (usually due to enforced trade “liberalisation”).

There is a huge danger that the trade agreement being negotiated between the EU and Canada (CETA) will contain provisions that make banning tar sands oil all but impossible.

Similar trade agreements have provided for big corporations to punish countries that have environmental protection laws which threaten a company’s profit maximisation.

George Osborne recently alleged that environmental legislation was obstructing business and I understand that a considerable number of Tory MPs do not even accept the science of man-made climate change.

Why is Mr Baker, as Transport Minister, keeping his own wagon hitched to such a Government when according to his article in this paper (December 2), David Cameron did not even bother to consult him about a meeting with the Canadian PM on an issue so important to him?

E Richardson,

Ringmer