The climate goals of the European Union and its member states are clear: reaching climate neutrality by the year 2050 and limiting warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius. Nonetheless, natural gas projects are being planned and built all over Europe.
“Natural” might trick you into thinking that it’s not harmful. The oil and gas industry would surely want you to see it that way. But it is still a fossil fuel, and it produces “alarming methane emissions”, say experts.
Investigate Europe dug into gas investments to understand why Europe is once again acting against its own climate goals. What they found:
- New gas projects worth €104 billion are underway; capacity for LNG terminals is to be increased by 54 percent; an extra 12,842 km of pipelines are anticipated down the line
- In the European Commission’s list of the so-called “Projects of Common Interest”, there are 32 gas projects that have been deemed eligible for funding by the EU.
- The Commission repeatedly overestimated the gas demands in the past 10 years, according to the European Court of Auditors.
The answers found are a mix of massive lobby influence, geopolitical competition and economical dependencies throughout Europe.
- Europe in the Gas Trap ( Investigate Europe, October 2020 )
- Bas Eickhout, MEP: “Nobody can substantiate the growing demand for gas anymore” ( Investigate Europe, 5 October 2020 )
- Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, IPCC climatologist: “We must stop using the atmosphere as a free dustbin” ( Investigate Europe, 5 October 2020 )
- Data and Methodology for Gas Investments ( Investigate Europe, 7 October 2020 )
- Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Deputy Director-General, Energy: ‘It is not for the Commission to decide anything’ ( Investigate Europe, 12 October 2020 )
- The European gas trap ( EUobserver, Belgium, 12 October 2020 )
- Loopholes and lobbies: An explainer of the European Commission’s Hydrogen strategy ( Investigate Europe, 20 October 2020 )
- Hildegunn T. Blindheim, Norwegian Oil and Gas Association: “There is no deadline for how long gas can remain in the energy mix” ( Investigate Europe, 23 October 2020 )
- The (in)visible hand of the gas lobby in Brussels ( Investigate Europe, 23 October 2020 )
- Hydrogen - the next battlefield ( EUobserver, Belgium, 15 October 2020 )
- The Gas Trap: how Europe is investing €100bn in fossil fuel infrastructure ( OpenDemocracy, UK, 15 October 2020 )
- How gas causes geopolitical conflicts — An explainer ( Investigate Europe, 23 November 2020 )
- Milliarden für eine Infrastruktur, die so nicht gebraucht wird (Why natural gas threatens Europe’s climate goals) ( Der Tagesspiegel, Germany, 5 October 2020 )
- Europa in der Erdgasfalle (Europe in the natural gas trap) ( Republik, Switzerland, 6 October 2020 )
- Milliarden für eine Infrastruktur, die so nicht gebraucht wird ( Die Rheinpfalz, Germany, 5 December 2020 )
- Il grande imbroglio del gas: il fossile venduto come “verde” (The big gas scam: the fossil sold as “green”) ( Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy, 12 October 2020 )
- Nella guerra fredda dei tubi l’Ue si inchina al volere Usa (In the ‘Cold War’ of pipes, the EU bows to American will) ( Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy, 12 October 2020 )
- L’equivoco H2 – Altro che svolta green. Con l’idrogeno “blu” esultano solo i colossi (With blue hydrogen, only the giants rejoice) ( Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy, 12 October 2020 )
- Anche qui si muove la lobby: rischiamo di buttare il Recovery in Italia (Here too the lobby moves: risking recovery in Italy) ( Il Fatto Quotidiano, Italy, 12 October 2020 )
- Gassindustrien øyner et langt liv med karbonfangst – men teknologien er kontroversiell i Europa (The gas industry envisages a long life with carbon capture — but the technology is controversial in Europe) ( Teknisk Ukeblad, Norway, 3 November 2020 )
- 759 gass-lobbyister, 12 av dem fra Equinor, jobber for å overbevise EU om at gass er grønt nok til å få offentlig støtte. EUs eksperter sa nei, men nå pågår kampen for fullt – bak lukkede dører. (759 gas lobbyists, 12 from Equinor, try to convince the EU that gas is green enough) ( Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway, 9 November 2020 )
- Olje- og gassindustrien vil investere over 100 milliarder euro i nye gassrørledninger. kraftverk og terminaler i Europa. Økonomer og klimaeksperter advarer: Dette kan låse oss til energi vi må løsrive oss fra. (Climate goals notwithstanding, Europe will invest more than €100bn in gas) ( Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway, 11 November 2020 )
- “Vi må slutte å bruke atmosfæren som gratis bossdunk” (“We must stop using the atmosphere as a free dustbin”) ( Stavanger Aftenblad, Norway, 16 November )
- “Le gaz naturel est une énergie fossile, ce n’est pas un gaz compatible avec la neutralité carbone en 2050” ( Investigate Europe, 3 November 2020 )
- Entre géopolitique et lobbying, le grand échiquier du gaz européen (Between geopolitics and lobbying, the big chess game of European gas) ( Mediapart, France, 10 November 2020 )