Menus Subscribe Search

Follow us


(Some) Germans Pull Out of Canada Oil

• March 21, 2013 • 11:36 AM

oilsandsgroupVia CTV:

Earlier this week, one of Europe’s largest scientific research organizations, Germany’s Helmholtz Association, announced it was pulling out of a research project on oil sands in Alberta, Canada. According to Canadian and German reports, the pullout appears to be rooted in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s re-election bid. Germans vote this September, and environmental sensitivity often plays well there.

So what? Well, the Helmholtz role in the Canadian research project — which apparently is looking at a range of issues related to the controversial energy source, including wastewater, carbon emission and energy production — is small, less than $10 million (the local Alberta government put in more than twice that, $25 million). But any involvement at all with oil sands appeared to represent a risk of backlash from Germany’s generally green electorate. Economists and political scientists studying trans-Atlantic relations will probably pay attention to the little dustup, which has thrown some key differences between North American energy priorities and European environmental constituencies into useful relief:

From Canadian Television’s report:

…Pressure from both opposition and government politicians convinced the institution’s board to back off. “Press releases were getting harsher and harsher….”

Officials from the German research group told reporters that German public opinion was critical of the North American failure to back international environmental treaties.

…Canada’s environmental reputation and its decision to walk away from climate change agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol also played a role. “Of course, the Kyoto Protocol was one element that contributed to that discussion.” Germany’s upcoming election in September also raises the temperature of the debate. “This is the point that is really driving the story.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marc Herman
Marc Herman is a writer in Barcelona. He is the author of The Shores of Tripoli.

More From Marc Herman

Tags:

If you would like to comment on this post, or anything else on Pacific Standard, visit our Facebook or Google+ page, or send us a message on Twitter. You can also follow our regular updates and other stories on both LinkedIn and Tumblr.

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow us


Subscribe Now

Quick Studies

When a Romance Is Threatened, People Rebound With God

And when they feel God might reject them, they buddy up to their partner.

How Can We Protect Open Ocean That Does Not Yet Exist?

As global warming melts ice and ushers in a wave of commercial activity in the Arctic, scientists are thinking about how to protect environments of the future.

What Kind of Beat Makes You Want to Groove?

The science behind the rhythms that get you on the dance floor.

Pollution’s Racial Divides

When it comes to the injustice of air pollution, the divide between blacks and whites is greater than the gap between the rich and the poor.

Hunger and Low Blood Sugar Can Spur Domestic Quarrels

In an experiment, scientists found a correlation between low blood glucose and higher levels of spousal frustration.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014