Charities slam EU Parliament for fracking import vote

Despite unanimous support for the Paris climate goals, the EU is heading for a fossil future, say campaigners 

CHARITIES in Scotland and Europe have expressed their disappointment at the EU Parliament’s decision to back importation and storage of fracked and unconventional gas (UCG).

A plenary vote on the "EU strategy on LNG and gas storage" stated that in the interests of energy security, given political tensions with Russia, it was necessary to consider the benefits of importing UCG.

The Brussels wing of the environmental charity Friends of the Earth (FoE), supported by the group in Scotland, has warned that such a decision could lock Europe into a reliance on fossil fuels and damage progress made by the Paris climate agreement.

“They're playing Russian roulette with the climate, and completely ignoring the implications of the Paris Agreement for our energy sector.” Antoine Simon

Antoine Simon, energy campaigner for FoE 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.

"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."

FoE Europe insist that such decisions conflict with Europe's commitments as part of the Paris climate agreement and will make it extremely unlikely that nations will stay below the 2°C global warming limit.

FoE Scotland agreed with the Brussels group that Europe “urgently needs” to transition away from fossil fuels and instead focus on supplying communities through renewables, especially community owned and managed projects.

"This decision opens the door to carbon-intensive fracked gas, especially from the US, which is linked to devastating local environmental and social impacts.” Antoine Simon

A major concern of campaigners is that due to threats of sanctions and the continued strife between western political powers and Russia, US fracked gas could be imported in an increased rate to serve political ends.

Organisations also stated that the vote which took place on Thursday 25 October ensures that subsidies and investments in, fossil fuels and gas would be given priority over renewables and energy efficiency across Europe.

Additionally, the vote follows the first arrival of a US fracking ship owned by energy giant Ineos at Grangemouth in September of this year. In Scotland, such imports are supported by bodies such as the GMB union, the Scottish Conservatives but opposed by the Greens. The Scottish Government received criticism from the chief executive and chairman of Ineos Jim Ratcliffe for not being “more open” to importing US fracking, given the government’s moratorium on fracking in Scotland.

Picture courtesy of John McSporran

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