Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Canada at the centre of global energy disputes

Given the increasing importance of both conventional and renewable energy, global competition is intensifying and Canada seems to be at the centre of many of the disputes unfolding.

1. Canada v. the EU - The oilsands

An EU proposal that would discourage use of oil from tar sands by classifying it as dirtier than other types of oil has angered Ottawa and could result in a case at the WTO. Canada argues that oil sands crude is no dirtier than oil from Russia and Nigeria, which would be treated more favorably under the EU's green fuel law.

2. Canada v. the US - XL pipeline

Oilsand are also at the center of an environmental decision now facing the Obama administration in the US. TransCanada Corp. hopes to build the proposed $7 billion USD Keystone XL pipeline to bring crude from oil sands in Alberta (and at some point Saskatchewan) to Texas refineries. Although technically not a dispute, its outcome would have a profound effect on US-Canada relations in the energy sector.

3. Canada v. EU and Japan - Local green energy subsidies

Both Brussels and Tokyo have challenged the domestic content requirements of the FIT program in Ontario. The EU and Japan claim such domestic content requirements are prohibited under WTO rules.

4. Canada (+ 25 other nations) v. EU - Carbon emissions permits

A European Union plan aimed at curbing carbon emissions by requiring airlines to buy pollution permits to offset greenhouse gas emissions from their planes has run into strong opposition from the United States, China, Canada and about two dozen other countries.

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