Winter package plays Russian roulette with climate

25 October 2016

Promoting gas as a long-term clean and sustainable energy solution is playing Russian roulette with climate change, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, following a Plenary vote in the European Parliament today on the "EU strategy on LNG and gas storage".

The decision today, likely influenced by big oil and gas corporations according to the organisation, will lock Europe into decades of fossil fuel use, and open the doors to carbon-intensive imports like shale gas – which can be as harmful for the climate as coal. It conflicts with Europe's commitments as part of the Paris climate agreement and will leave very little chance of staying below 2°C global warming limit.

Antoine Simon, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "There's no such thing as clean gas – it's a fossil fuel with climate-killing methane emissions. They're playing Russian roulette with the climate, and completely ignoring the implications of the Paris Agreement for our energy sector."

The European Commission's 'energy security package' was announced in February. Today's vote prioritises subsidies for, and investments in, dirty fossil gas, and the infrastructure required for them, to the detriment of renewables and energy efficiency. The emphasis on liquefied natural gas (LNG) encourages further imports of gas to the EU, particularly from the United States where the LNG is likely to come from environmentally destructive 'fracked' gas.

Antoine Simon continued: "This decision opens the door to carbon-intensive fracked gas, especially from the US, which is linked to devastating local environmental and social impacts. Europe urgently needs to transition away from fossil fuels towards community owned renewables and energy efficiency."

According to Friends of the Earth Europe, to have any chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, Europe urgently needs to transition away from fossil fuels towards renewables –especially community owned and managed – and energy efficiency.