Blog Posts: Common Resources

April 6th, 2018

Blog: Europe’s Terminals to Import Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Heavily Underused

By Andy Gheorghiu and Frida Kieninger

This month, Food & Water Europe analyzed the utilization rate of EU LNG terminals based on data from Gas Infrastructure Europe. LNG terminals are facilities that enable the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), gas that is cooled down so its volume is reduced by a ratio of 1:600 and can be shipped across the ocean via LNG tankers.

What is a utilization rate, and why does it matter?

The utilization rate is the percentage at which existing LNG infrastructure is actually being used. In other words, if a terminal has an annual import capacity of 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, but only imports 5 bcm, its utilization rate is at 50 percent.

The time period we looked at was from 2012 until early 2018 and it is striking at how little these costly facilities have been used during the past six years. It is important to take into account the low utilization rates since they show clearly that there is no need to invest in more LNG facilities. Nevertheless, there is a push for more LNG terminals in Europe and several of these costly facilities are being planned. If we don’t want to lock Europe into even more fossil fuels and move to a renewable energy system, we cannot waste money on LNG infrastructure but have to channel as much financial and political support as possible to renewables. Read the full article…

January 22nd, 2018

Ready, Steady, 2018: What Food & Water Europe Will Fight for in the Coming Year

By Frida Kieninger, David Sánchez and Andy Gheorghiu

In 2017 we worked hard to change things for the better – fighting for sustainable agriculture, public water, better trade agreements, and clean energy solutions. The past year was a tough one seeing U.S. President Trump’s destructive decisions on social, energy and environmental issues and another series of devastating disasters linked to climate change. Nevertheless, now more than ever we are motivated to make 2018 a successful year for our beautiful fragile planet. Can we count on you?

Read the full article…

January 16th, 2018

European Activists Invited to Talk About Opposition to Gas Infrastructure in the European Parliament

If you are around Brussels this month, you are more than welcome to participate in our event on 22 January, bringing the voices of anti-gas infrastructure activists to the European Parliament. The event will take place from 13:30-14:30 in room PHS 01C051.

Why is Gas on the EU-Parliament’s Agenda this Month?

On the following day, Tuesday 23 January, the European Commission will talk to Members of Parliament about a new priority list for gas and electricity projects. Food & Water Europe followed the establishment of this list carefully and heavily criticises it because:

  • It is too focused on fossil fuel (gas) infrastructure to the detriment of renewables.
  • Support for subsidizing gas projects is not in line with the goals laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • It is marked by conflicts of interest due to heavy industry involvement.
  • It incentivises the misuse of public money for unneeded fossil fuel projects will end up as stranded assets.

Read the full article…

December 18th, 2017

Meet the European Petrochemical Giant Trying to Profit from the Fracking of Pennsylvania

The Controversial Mariner East 2 Pipeline Would Carry Gas Liquids for Plastics Production Overseas

By Wenonah Hauter

It seems that every week brings more bad news about the construction of Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 pipeline. While Pennsylvania communities, water protectors and landowners fight to stop the project, a larger question remains: What is this massive, dangerous pipeline actually for? The one word answer might surprise you: plastics.

The Mariner East 2 won’t carry “natural gas” for heating your house or operating a stove. It will transport highly volatile liquids that will mostly be shipped overseas to be turned into plastics by a giant chemical corporation with a terrible environmental record.

Ineos’s pro-fracking agenda has spawned a citizen movement in Europe, where residents are fighting to prevent the company’s plans to frack the United Kingdom.

In other words, Sunoco and its parent company Energy Transfer Partners are putting Pennsylvania communities at risk—from the immediate negative impacts of fracking in the western parts of the state, to the long-term risks to families living near the 350-mile pipeline—in order to supply a giant corporation making plastic pellets, many of which wind up littering shorelines across Europe.

My organization, Food & Water Watch, has been digging deep into Ineos, the massive chemical conglomerate profiting from the fracked gas liquids out of Pennsylvania. Ineos founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe amassed his petrochemical empire in short order, thanks to risky bets and highly leveraged takeovers and acquisitions. The Mariner East 2 pipeline represents one more dangerous Ineos “innovation”—it delivers fracked hydrocarbons to the Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia, where they are loaded onto the company’s “dragon ships” headed to facilities in Scotland and Norway.

Read the full article…

September 26th, 2017

Betting on Chaos: Financial Firms Seek to Cash In on Climate Change

By Mitch Jones

Earlier this month the Financial Times reported that a new climate change prediction market [subscription required] is being created in the United Kingdom. The market, similar to a sports betting book, is the “brainchild” of the financial firm Winton Capital. Initially, the market will allow bets on levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and on temperature rises, but Winton Capital hopes to expand it in the future so that sea level rise, extreme weather, and other pollution levels become the topic of bets.

What’s equally strange is that Winton Capital is paying for this market out of its philanthropic budget. There’s nothing philanthropic about betting on climate change.
Read the full article…

February 27th, 2017

How the EU Is Supporting European Dependence on Gas

By Frida Kieninger

On 17 February, the EU Commission published the outcome of the call for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a financing tool with the aim of supporting “the development of high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport, energy and digital services.” We had a deeper look into the funding instrument’s impact on energy infrastructure and found that the CEF fails to ensure efficient, and even more so, sustainable interconnections.

Since its creation in 2014, the CEF has provided €1billion to support gas projects, while electricity projects received only around €532million. These numbers are contrary to the declared CEF objectives of allocating the majority of its funds to electricity projects, and the EU-Commission’s own perceived need for Europe to invest further €140billion in electricity and “only” €70billion in gas infrastructure

Read the full article…

November 17th, 2016

Part II: Reform of the Emissions Trading System — Nothing but patches on a broken system

By Frida Kieninger

foodandwatereuropeoncarbonemissionsIn part one of this blog, I referred to the obvious inefficiency of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). While the ETS is praised to be the key element of the European climate policy, it fails to deliver and is less efficient than other factors such as energy prices and the overall tendency towards more sustainability.

The danger of an inefficient system — so big that it covers around 45 percent of the EU`s greenhouse gas emissions — is its potential to cancel out existing and future policies at the EU and national level that would really contribute to emission reductions. Ironically, this results in the ETS doing potentially more harm than good in the fight against global warming.

Read the full article…

November 15th, 2016

Part I: Get Out of the Way of Real Climate Action

By Frida Kieninger

foodandwatereuroperealclimateactionETS: Only A Side Effect

The European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) tries to lower greenhouse gases by putting a price on carbon and trading it in the form of allowances. It is the world’s biggest trading system for emissions and was launched over 10 years ago. The big downside of the supposed fairy tale of a miraculous cap-and-trade system is that there is no proof that the ETS has actually caused reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

A study commissioned by the EU Commission finds that the ETS alone was not the driving factor in companies and sectors choosing to invest in carbon-efficient solutions. Rather, these actors were mainly influenced by other factors like the cost of energy and raw materials, as well as the growing environmental awareness of stakeholders and consumers.

Read the full article…

November 16th, 2015

Victory in the European Parliament: A U-turn On Fracking!

By Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe You Can't Frack HereSUMMARY: Ahead of the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, our activists are helping turn the tide on fracking in Europe.

Earlier this month, as part of the Global Frackdown to Paris, we released a letter signed by over 1,250 groups in 64 countries, sending a strong signal to the world’s leaders that fracking and extreme energy extraction must not be part of any plan to tackle climate change that comes out of the international climate conference in Paris later this month.

Read the full article…

October 21st, 2015

Another Day, Another Distraction for the Human Right to Water

By David Sánchez

New Mantras, Old Problems

WaterIsAHumanRightThere is a new mantra in the EU water debate: transparency. The European Commission, after ignoring the nearly two million signatures asking for the implementation of the Human Right to Water and Sanitation, is trying to keep people busy by launching a number of bureaucratic initiatives, based on mantras like transparency.

But what does transparency mean? For many private water operators it seems that overflowing people with technical data can be enough. But If I think on what information is important to me, my first thoughts go the quality of the water I am drinking. I would also like to understand my water bill and my taxes, so I can know where my money is going. Is it being invested to improve water infrastructure? In measures to control pollution of our water resources? To guarantee the right to water of those facing economic problems? Or is it going to the shareholders of a multinational company?

Read the full article…

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