Nobel laureates press EU leaders on tar sands law

Wed Oct 2, 2013 7:00pm EDT
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* Canada's wrath at EU law overshadows trade talks

* Nobel laureates say oil sands have 'devastating impact'

By Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Twenty-one Nobel laureates including South African anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu have written to European Union leaders urging them to implement a law that would label oil from tar sands as dirtier than other crudes.

The EU tar sands proposal has incensed the government of Canada, whose economy is highly dependent on its vast reserves of unconventional oil and it has overshadowed protracted talks on a trade treaty with the European Union.

The Nobel laureates say the EU law is necessary because "the extraction of unconventional fuels - such as oil sands and oil shale - is having a particularly devastating impact on climate change", according to a copy of the letter seen by Reuters.

The letter was sent this week to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU heads of state.

Apart from Tutu, awarded the Nobel peace prize, another peace laureate on the list is Jody Williams, who received the prize for her work to ban land mines. Some others won Nobel prizes for chemistry or medicine.

As a native of the U.S. state of Vermont, which could be a route for transporting tar sands, Williams says her opposition is both "very personal and very global". For her it is a matter of world peace.   Continued...