Blog Posts: Activism

October 2nd, 2018

A 20,000-cow Dairy Farm in Europe? No way!

by David Sánchez

Noviercas is a small village of 158 inhabitants in Northeast Spain. It is located in the province of Soria, inside a region known as the “Spanish Siberia” because of the low population density, less than 8 people per square kilometer.

This village became famous when the co-op Valle del Odieta announced last year their intentions to build a 20,000-cow factory farm in the village. It would be the biggest dairy farm in Europe and the project immediately became controversial for all the potential impacts it could bring to the area and to the farming sector.

Farmers are leading the opposition, as they estimate this factory farm would destroy 700 direct jobs, one third of the dairy farms in the region. It would produce around 368,000 tons of manure per year, the equivalent of the waste produced by a city of 4.4 million people. And the farm would consume between 4 and 6.35 million liters of water per day, more than the total consumption of the city of Soria (40,000 inhabitants). Impacts on the environment and local communities can be huge.

This farm has nothing to do with the European model of livestock farming. We have witnessed fierce resistance to previous dairy mega factory farms with 8,000 thousand cows in the UK or even actions of civil disobedience against a 1,000-cow farm in France.

We cannot allow this model, imported from the US, to come to Europe. Impacts of these huge factory farms are well documented and are reason enough to ask for a ban. Stopping this farm would be a really symbolic step against the invasion of factory farms in Europe to defend a sustainable and social model of farming.

You can read more about it here in English, Spanish and French.

We will campaign with our allies to stop this project. Stay tuned!

September 28th, 2018

Communities Are Standing up Against Gas and Fracking Across the Globe

From Nigeria to Sweden, Indonesia to Pennsylvania, our solidarity is international.

70 organizations from 6 continents already have come together to partner up for a global mobilisation against gas and fracking.

Actions are planned across North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceana. We’ve got a demo in Nigeria, a webinar series in Pennsylvania, an anti-fracking carnival in the UK, and much more.

This number is growing, and it’s not too late for you to join.
***

We need to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and into a renewable energy system, but governments and banks are pumping money into the gas industry– the lifeline of the fossil fuel corporates.  Gas is sold as a clean alternative, but leaks huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas,  into our atmosphere. The overall effect is no better for our climate than oil and coal – it’s just another fossil fuel that keeps the status quo of fossil business over people the same. The climate crisis has no time for false solutions.
Read the full article…

September 19th, 2018

The Tiny Corner Of America Where Oil Titans Will Stash 2 Million Gallons Of Gas

US Politicians (including some Democrats) are pushing dangerous projects to prop up the plummeting profitability of natural gas fracking.

If these massive petrochemical, plastics, and pipeline investments are not stopped, people who live nearby will have the steepest price to pay — with their health and their environment.

The big secret is out — fracking hasn’t been as profitable as the industry thought it would be. Prices and profits have been crashing, so gas and oil companies have been racking their brains to find new ways to market fracked gas to get a return on their money. The industry’s clever answer to their financial troubles lies in plastics, because the petrochemical industry can make plastic out of the fracked gas.

The fracking and petrochemical industries have teamed up to dump tens of billions of dollars into the heart of the Appalachian region —  right where Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia meet. They are building pipelines and petrochemical and plastics manufacturing complexes, and a large underground storage facility. Our research team has released a damning issue brief that underscores the partnership between these polluting industries, elected officials, and regional universities to launch a massive petrochemical and pipeline boom.
Read the full article…

September 7th, 2018

A Global Movement Against Gas and Fracking Is Rising

See the rising up from the Gasdown Frackdown

Along with our partners, Food & Water Europe is part of a global movement against fossil fuel extraction and FOR a sustainable future.

This October we mobilized and targeting those behind the boom of fossil gas and fracking infrastructure:

  • industry
  • governments
  • petrochemical giants that make plastics out of fossil fuels; and
  • banks that finance all of this.

We call it the The Global Gasdown Frackdown Day of Action.

We are showing our governments and the fossil fuel industry that our  communities and our atmosphere cannot handle another generation of fossil fuel addiction – JOIN US!

Read the full article…

September 6th, 2018

Canadian & German Groups Team Up to Fight Germany’s Climate-hostile Fracked Gas LNG Terminals Game

by Andy Gheorghiu

In our “Fracking & LNG Ghosts of Gas Addicted Germany (Part I and II)“ blogs we’ve already highlighted the destructive and hyprocritical climate policy of Germany.

The country is a big supporter of the controversial and unneeded Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will pour another 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas into Central and Eastern Europe, finally locking the European Union into the Russian fossil addiction.

At the same time, the German government is also wasting €1.2 billion of taxpayers public money on the Southern Gas Corridor, the mega pipeline that the EU Commission subsidizes in the hope to be able to by-pass Russian gas-transit networks.

The German government is also providing a budget of €4.75 million for fracking research projects, welcomes propopals for the construction of the first LNG terminals in Germany, and wants to invest more public money in a fracked gas LNG terminal in Nova Scotia, Canada. German business market analysts have clearly highlighted the stranded assets related to these projects and have called them “foreseable investment ruins“.

According to the project report and financial analysis paper of Laurentian Bank Securities Equity Research, the company Pieridae Energy Limited is “On Track to Become Canada’s First Major LNG Exporter”.

Pieridae wants to build the LNG Goldboro terminal in Nova Scotia to export fracked shale gas from Canada (Alberta, British Colombia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Sable Island) and Pennsylvania (the Marcellus Shale). According to the Alberta Energy Regulator, gas production from shale (Duvernay Formation) is expected to continue to grow – particulary driven by the presence of wet gas (natural gas liquids) that have increasingly become the focus of the petrochemical industry that uses the fracked wet gas (i.e. ethane) component to produce plastics and petrochemicals. The American Chemistry Council has highlighted in April 2018 that major chemical investment is linked to shale gas, with 325 projects in the US alone cumulatively valued at $194 billlion in capital investment announced since 2010. Pennsylvania could indeed become the world’s new petrochemical hub.

It’s worth mentioning in this context that petrochemical giant Dow Chemical, a developer for fracking proppants, and Yara, the so-called “Exxons of agriculture“ are the foreseeable major buyers of LNG  in the cases of the proposed terminals at Stade and Brunsbüttel. This is again highlighting the growing hunger of the petrochemical industry for cheap fracked gas and it shows that these projects have nothing to do with the energy supply for German households.

Pieradae states that the two most obvious areas that provide readily available gas for the Goldboro facility are western Canada and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.The company has entered into a 20-year LNG sales agreement on a take-or-pay basis of 4.8 million metric tonnes per annum (6.7 bcm) with German Uniper, the company that’s a financial investor of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is also involved in the Southern Gas Corridor project. Uniper’s partner Pieridae has qualified for US$3.1 billion under the United Loan Guarantee (Garantien für Ungebundene Finanzkredite or UFK) programme of the German government.

Confronted with the fact that Germany has a fracking moratorium for shale gas in place but nonethless intends to invest in importing fracked gas from the U.S. and Canada, the German government answered that a) fracked gas could help diversify the gas supply of Germany and Europe and b) Germany has issued only a “Letter of Interest” to financially support the project, but this doesn’t equal a proper loan yet.

But the fun factor doesn’t end here. Pieridae (which is trying to get the money together for this not only enviromentally but also economically very risky project) announced in August 2018 the appointment of the German state-owned KfW IPEX-Bankas an adviser in assisting it to finalize a multibillion USD untied loan guarantee from the German federal government under its UFK program (Garantien für ungebundene Finanzkredite).“ In July 2018, Pieridae apparently requested the German government increase the amount of the guarantee from the US$3.1 billion.

Initiated by Gastivists Berlin, German groups – together with Food & Water Europe – have now teamed up with Canadian activists and NGOs and have urged the German Federal Environmental and Energy Ministries in a joint open letter not to award Pieridae the financial guarantee it would need to succeed with its climate-hostile LNG Goldboro terminal. The letter highlights that several crucial points make clear that the financial guarantee is not in the interest of the economy, the climate or the environment, clearly stating that this investment not only undermines Germany’s intended role as an international pioneer in tackling the climate crisis but also has negative impacts for local communities in the affected regions in Canada and the U.S.

The Canadian Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRAC) and the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance have underlined the trans-atlantic joint demands by sending follow-up letters to the German government describing these concerns, and the big opposition in Canada against fracking and against this project in particular.

Together, we will join forces across the Atlantic to stop this madness. Collectively, we won’t allow the German government to greenwash itself with the claim that it has banned fracking while at the same time supporting fracking gas LNG projects that make no sense whatsoever with public money.

That’s not how we are rightfully expecting Germany to play the role of the climate hero it could be. We all know that 4th biggest world economy can and must do much better than that.

Links:

Open letter to German government (EN, DE, FR)

Letter from NOFRAC and Guysborough Communities Coalition

Letter from New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

______________________________________________________________________________

Don’t forget to join the Global Day of Action (13th October) against fossil fuels, fracking, petrochemicals & plastics – Gas Down Frack Down Rise Up! Join the movement and sign up on

People Power Blocks Extraction at Europe’s Biggest Gas Field for Fifty Hours

On 30 August, what was likely the largest mass civil disobedience action against gas extraction in the Netherlands to date came to an end after protesters managed to block important infrastructure for the extraction supply chain for 50 hours. The Dutch government plans to phase out gas extraction in the field, but what is planned is too little, too late.

About 700 Dutch and neighboring Europeans gathered to peacefully protest against the ongoing gas extraction in Groningen. After participating in an action camp in the days leading up to the action, activists marched, danced and cycled to a gas tank farm in Delfzijl. Things seemed calm at first, but shockingly, Dutch police soon started to repeatedly make use of sticks to

The Main Message of the Protest: Fight the Climate Crisis

In 2017, similar cases happened during a mass disobedience action in Germany, in an area close to Cologne that is about to be sacrificed to coal extraction. It is critical that these violations of our human rights get attention and face consequences to protect what is left of our democracies, which are yielding more and more to corporate interests and deploying the police like private security for industry giants like ExxonMobil, Shell, Cuadrilla or Wintershall. Still, we must also make sure that the main message of these peaceful protests does not get lost: The climate crisis is real, and it is here, now. And it is our responsibility to fight it.

Human activities, and particularly our continued use of all fossil fuels, oil, coal and gas, are the main drivers of the current extreme weather, floods, droughts, crop losses, etc. that we see. While oil and coal have a bad name already, this is not so much the case for gas: it is often sold as a clean, green climate solution, and alternative ways of generating so called “renewable gas” are often promoted as a silver bullet but are mainly an excuse for the industry to continue promoting fossil gas.

Only basic knowledge of math is needed to realize that our carbon budget is melting fast and that we cannot reduce greenhouse gas emissions with natural gas. We need to kick all fossil fuels out of the equation to reach an economy able to keep our world a livable place.

The “Gas Colony” is Fighting Back

Many people from the Groningen region welcome the protests and the awareness it creates for their struggles nationally and internationally. And the climate is not the only issue connected to gas extraction: Groningen is Europe’s biggest gas field and estimated to be the ninth biggest in the world. Food & Water Europe wrote in 2016 about the environmental, economic and societal impacts that gas extraction, which started in the area over fifty years ago, has had on Groningen. Because of thousands of earthquakes triggered by gas drilling, more and more houses there get cracks, become dangerous to live in and unsellable, and ultimately break down. Groningen inhabitants call this a “drama in slow motion” and say that they are the Netherland’s “gas colony”, carrying the consequences of gas extraction with ridiculously little compensation – while big corporations make billions selling the gas within the country and to neighboring states such as Germany, Belgium or France.

Gas Down Frack Down – Rise Up! Action Day on 13 October

But there is hope! The Groningen protest is not the only action against fossil fuels and gas. On and around 13 October, people from all over the planet will stand up and join the Global Action day against gas and fracking. The Global Gasdown-Frackdown connects individuals, grassroots activists and NGOs – everyone who want to show with creative, colorful activities that the worldwide movement against fossil fuels is growing – and winning! Learn more here.

August 13th, 2018

We’re Literally Eating and Drinking Plastic. Fossil Fuels Are To Blame.

Originally posted on Food & Water Watch.

Download the fact sheet

By Darcey Rakestraw

Care about plastic pollution? Then it’s time to work to start moving away from fossil fuels.

Plastic is a serious problem, and it’s time we addressed it at its source: fossil fuel production. Plastics are increasingly fueled by fracking in the U.S.—the extreme method of extracting fossil fuels that is polluting our air and our water, and exacerbating climate change. Fracking provides the cheap raw materials for plastics production, which has lead industry publication Plastics News to say fracking “represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity.” More fracking equals more profit in plastics (which equals, you guessed it…more plastics.)
Read the full article…

July 12th, 2018

The Two Faces of the EU Commission’s Gas Narrative: Arguments Against Nord Stream 2 Completely Ignored in Discussions Around EU Priority Gas Projects

By Frida Kieninger

A while ago, the European Commission published another briefing paper about Nord Stream 2. A steadfast opponent of the planned big underwater pipeline aiming at expanding the gas transport capacity between Germany and Russia through the Baltic Sea, the Commission brings a set of arguments pointing to several reservations in connection with the project.

Interestingly, they use the same line of argument they completely ignore when it comes to other pipeline projects, particularly the Commission’s list of priority infrastructure projects, the PCI (Projects of Common Interest) list.

Nord Stream 2 Vs. the Commission’s Priority Projects: Stick and Carrot?

Having a closer look at some of the arguments, it is striking how contradictory the Commission’s narrative is on the project in question. The briefing paper laments that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline “would cost billions of euros that could be spent in other priority segments of the economy and the energy sector” and that the pipeline’s economic rationale ignores EU objectives on energy efficiency, renewables and research and innovation.

This is a warning that NGOs and grassroots groups have sounded several times in connection with the large amounts of money the EU Commission granted and will continue granting to several projects of common interest. In order to have a chance to stay well below 2 degrees of global warming, direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuels have to cease; in particular, public money must not be invested in backward-looking technologies locking us into further decades of fossil gas use.
Read the full article…

July 9th, 2018

The Fracking & LNG Ghosts of Gas Addicted Germany (Part II of II)

by Andy Gheorghiu

Read Part I

Alleged “Frack-Free” Germany

Many people think that Germany has banned fracking but this is not completely true. And even the existing partial ban is at risk at the moment.

Let’s have a look at the legal framework: In Germany, fracking is officially banned outright in shale and coal bed methane layers until 2021. However, with the approval of an expert panel established in June 2018, up to four fracking research projects in these layers might be allowed and conducted.

In addition, fracking and fracking waste disposal is also prohibited in designated water protection areas, areas with water bodies linking to natural lakes or dams that serve as public water supplies, areas with wells for the production of beverages or drinks, or areas that fall under the water security law.

However, the details of Germany’s current fracking legal framework reveal a number of cracks. Just as in the UK, nature protection zones and national parks appear to be protected. However, this protection only applies to the construction of facilities related to fracking projects directly in the park. It does not prohibit drilling projects from being authorised just outside the protected areas. This allows operators to drill horizontally under them, thereby putting these restricted areas at risk.

The legislation also includes a ban on fracking within the European nature protection zones, the so-called Natura-2000 areas, but this only covers the construction of facilities related to shale gas and coal bed methane projects. In other words, other kinds of tight gas or oil development involving the use of fracking would be allowed. Tight gas is usually extracted from sandstone or limestone layers. The ongoing lobbying of the oil and gas industry has been so sucessfull that the German government has even re-branded sandstone and limestone layers as “conventional layers’ in order to creat the artificial term of “conventional fracking” – which helps tight gas fracking bypass the otherwise applicable ban.

Furthermore, an official request to the German government revealed that Germany provides public funding of €4.75 million towards the above-mentioned fracking research projects.

With this policy, the German government undermines its own goal of being a climate protection leader.

Read the full article…

The Fracking & LNG Ghosts of Gas Addicted Germany (Part I of II)

by Andy Gheorghiu

Part I

Many folks around the world see Germany as a progressive “green energy“ country and think it has banned fracking. Unfortunately, both statements are untrue.

In October 2017, federal environment ministry calculations showed that – without further action – Germany would miss its 2020 climate target by a wider margin than previously anticipated (a drop in emissions of only 31 – 33 percent instead of 40 percent).

But instead of increasing desperately needed further actions, the current (and former) government watered down the 2020 emission reduction goal. Conservatives (CDU) and Socialdemocrats (SPD) now want to close the current gap “as much as possible” and reach the target “as soon as possible”.

However, it is simply beyond belief that this is anythiing but a spineless promise particularly if we take a closer look at Germany’s gas consumption.

“Gassy” Germany Beats “Green” Germany

 Despite its “green” image, Germany remains the biggest gas consumer in Europe. With almost 92 billion cubic metres (bcm) of consumption in 2017, fossil gas accounted for 24 percent in Germany’s primary energy consumption.
Read the full article…

Welcome!

You are reading Food & Water Europe's blog.

Please join the conversation by leaving comments.

Feel free to contact us.

Blog Categories

Blog archives

Sign Up To:

Champion healthy food and clean water and stand up to corporations that put profits before people!

-->