Global Environmental Activists Ask UN to Support Worldwide Fracking Ban

Group represents frontline communities from Europe, Mexico and Pennsylvania, along with researchers and international climate campaigners

New York, NY — A group of environmental activists, public health professionals and campaigners who are fighting fracking, climate change, petrochemicals and plastic pollution met with the United Nations to discuss the harms and threats of gas drilling and petrochemical expansion in their communities, and the necessity of stopping further extraction to combat the global climate crisis.

Activists from Mexico, Ireland and Germany were joined by frontline residents and campaigners from Pennsylvania and New York in the meeting with Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of New York Office at UN Environment.

The meeting was the result of an open letter sent to the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres last September. That letter — organized by Food & Water Action, its European arm Food & Water Europe and the Breathe Project in Pittsburgh — was signed by nearly 460 grassroots groups, faith communities, celebrities, activists and organizations, including actors Mark Ruffalo, Emma Thompson and Amber Heard, authors and activists Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré as well as iconic children’s singer Raffi.

As the groups wrote to Secretary General Guterres, the “continued production, trade and use of fracked hydrocarbons for energy, petrochemicals and plastics torpedoes our global efforts to tackle climate change and violates basic human rights.”

The groups appealed to the United Nations to consider the critical findings it has issued over the years. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESR) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have expressed concern that fracking will make it all but impossible to achieve emissions reductions targets outlined by the Paris Agreement, as well as the impacts of fossil fuel drilling on human rights. As early as 2012, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a “Global Alert” on fracking, concluding that it may have adverse environmental impacts under any circumstances.

All speakers will appear at an evening event, “Global Impacts of Fracking: From Pennsylvania to Europe and Back,” at the CUNY School of Law in Long Island City on the evening following the UN meeting. They will be joined by Rolling Stone journalist Justin Nobel, who will discuss his bombshell article on fracking and radioactivity.


“Fracking has been linked to radioactive brine, higher rates of cancer and nervous, immune, and cardiovascular system problems,” highlights Dr. Sandra Steingraber, Concerned Health Professionals of New York together with Dr. Ned Ketyer, Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania. “The gathered scientific evidence shows that women, industry workers, communities of color, and the poor are especially vulnerable to environmental injustices and harm to health and safety from fracking.”

“The petrochemical industry has teamed up with the fracking industry to benefit from cheap fracked ethane to produce more unneeded and environmentally destructive plastic,” says Michele Fetting, Breathe Project together with impacted local activist Lois Bjornson. “Families are suffering from the effects of contaminated air and water and there is increasing fear as fracking activities and the petrochemical build-out show no sign of slowing down.”

The promise of our current president to stop fracking in Mexico has not been met. All legislation favors the industry in disregard of the rights of communities in extraction areas, underlines Claudia Campero, Alianza Mexicana contra el Fracking, Mexico.

Eddie Mitchell, Love Letirim, Ireland, adds: “Now that we stopped fracking in Ireland, we’re also forced to fight the fracking industry from infiltrating our energy markets through import pipelines and LNG terminals – undermining all our efforts to move forward towards a clean energy future.”

“After over four years of evidence gathering, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal judges on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change recommended in 2019 that fracking be banned and that the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment be asked to investigate the violations of the rights of humans and nature by the Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction industry,” said Scott Edwards and Andy Gheorghiu, Food & Water Action US and EU. “It’s time for the UN take action and finally recommend a global ban on fracking to tackle one of the worst crises in human history.”

Talk Fracking founder Joe Corré says: “Countries like Britain are employing smoke and mirrors strategies to continue fracking while pretending they’re not. The United Nations must impose a global fracking ban for the sake of humanity. Fracking simply puts another log on the fire of the Climate emergency. It’s no bridging fuel. It’s fossil fuel’s last stand.”

Fashion icon Dame Vivienne Westwood adds: “If we’re serious about saving the planet from Climate devastation, then Fracking – or any other form of extreme energy extraction under a different name – like Acidisation – must be totally outlawed”.

NGOs call for less and better meat, dairy and eggs in the Farm to Fork Strategy

NGOs call for less and better meat, dairy and eggs in the Farm to Fork Strategy

Brussels — Ahead of the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy, Food & Water Europe and 19 other NGOs wrote to key Commissioners and Commission Vice-President Timmermans to call on them to recognise and address the need to reduce and improve the production and consumption of meat, dairy and eggs in the strategy.

Read the letter.




But movement growing for end to gas


Brussels/Strasbourg, 12 February 2020 – A quarter of MEPs today voted in favour of a resolution to reject the EU’s proposed list of priority energy infrastructure, including 55 fossil gas projects, though this was insufficient to veto the list. [1]

The vote nevertheless shows growing concern over the European Commission’s continued support for gas, despite its plans for a zero carbon Europe, say green groups. [2]

Frida Kieninger from Food & Water Europe said:
“A majority of MEPs today failed to keep their promises on the climate emergency – as the planet burns they are standing by and fanning the flames with yet more fossil fuels for the EU. But the movement is growing to save Europe from being shackled to decades more climate-killing gas.

“The Greens, GUE, and a number of Social Democrats deserve the credit today for standing up and recognising that gas is a harmful fossil fuel that should not be supported by the EU.”

But most MEPs, particularly from the European Peoples’ Party, together with many Social Democrat and Renew MEPs, refused to make use of the Parliament’s power to object to the European Commission’s 4th Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, enabling 55 fossil fuel projects to become eligible for EU funding.

Despite backing the list, the Renew group has written to the EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson seeking a revision of this 4th PCI list. Vice President Timmermans has promised that only projects consistent with the Green Deal will receive funding. [3]

Colin Roche, climate justice coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“This climate hypocrisy has to end. Following unprecedented disasters like Australia’s wildfires, history will look unkindly on those who today backed building more fossil fuel pipelines and terminals. A European Green Deal is not possible with more fossil fuels, and Europe needs to go fossil free fast.

“The Commission should now clarify that gas projects are incompatible with the European Green Deal and place a moratorium on funding of any of the gas projects with EU taxpayers’ money.”

The EU Commission will next consider which of the projects approved today will receive EU funding from the Connecting Europe Facility. NGOs demand a full stop to all fossil fuel subsidies. The European Commission had previously admitted that the list had not undergone either a climate or sustainability assessment.[4]

Ya’ara Peretz of Green Course, an Israeli NGO fighting the EastMed pipeline, said:
“It’s sad and disappointing to realize that many EU politicians are choosing the side of fossil fuel companies, and are pushing expensive and wasteful fossil gas projects such as the East Med pipeline.” 

For more information, contact:

Colin Roche, climate justice coordinator, Friends of the Earth Europe, [email protected]  (+32) (0)489 598984

Frida Kieninger, campaign officer, Food & Water Europe, [email protected], tel (+32) (0) 2893 1045, mobile (+32) (0)487 249 905

Robbie Blake, Communications team, Friends of the Earth Europe, [email protected], (+32) (0)2 893 1010


[1] Motion

169 MEPs voted in favour of a rejection of the 4th PCI list, 443 against, with 36 abstentions.

[2] Over 300,000 EU citizens signed petitions and emailed MEPs expressing their concern about EU support for gas in advance of the vote.


[4] The PCI list process is laid out in the TEN-E Regulation This regulation dates from 2013 and does not consider climate commitments such as the Paris Agreement, the EU’s 2030 decarbonisation targets and the European Green Deal. The TEN-E Regulation does not require any climate impact assessment of PCI projects. The European Commission has pledged to review the TEN-E legislation by the end of 2020. However, any potential revision of the legislation will take place after the selection process for the next fifth PCI list has begun.




Food & Water Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe

Brussels, 5 February 2020 One of the world’s most famous actors and activists, Mark Ruffalo, who plays “The Hulk”, has today weighed into Europe’s climate debate, urging members of the European Parliament in Brussels to vote against a list of priority EU energy infrastructure projects next week, as it could subsidise 55 new fossil fuel projects, including those that facilitate the import and transport of US fracked gas.

Ruffalo was speaking in Brussels this afternoon [1] about his new film Dark Waters, and had a private meeting with European Parliament President David Sassoli.

Mark Ruffalo said in a statement:
“I’m in Brussels to screen my new film Dark Waters and advocate for protecting our precious water from toxic chemicals. I’m urging the European Parliament to vote down a list of 55 fossil fuel infrastructure projects, many of which would import fracked gas from the US to Europe. This not only contradicts the European Green Deal but also exacerbates climate change at a time when the world needs Europe to be a climate leader.

“Supporting fracked gas projects runs counter to the laudable actions of several European countries that have banned fracking including France, Bulgaria, Ireland, Austria, Germany and areas of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain. Fracking is not safe in those countries, it’s not safe in the United States, and the European Parliament should not import US fracked gas.”

He earlier made a personal video statement on his social media [2] urging members of the European Parliament to be true climate leaders by voting against the so-called ‘Projects of Common Interest’ (PCI) list and instead investing in renewable energy projects.

MEPs are due to vote next week in Strasbourg on a motion to reject the EU’s list of priority energy projects. If the list is approved, fossil fuel corporations will be eligible to receive funding from the European Union to build these projects. Many of these projects could be used to import damaging fracked gas from the United States. [3]

Colin Roche, climate justice coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe reacted:
“The Hulk is right, there can be no truly Green Deal with more fracked gas. It’s now up to all MEPs to reject the EU’s list of priority energy projects which gives immense backing to yet more fossil fuels.”



Colin Roche, climate justice coordinator, Friends of the Earth Europe, [email protected], (+32) (0)2 893 21

Frida Kieninger, campaign officer, Food & Water Europe, [email protected], (+32) (0) 2893 1045, (+32) (0)487 249 905

Robbie Blake, Communications team, Friends of the Earth Europe, [email protected], (+32) (0)2 893 1010


[1] Ruffalo told a packed audience of MEPs today:

“You are going to vote on 55 fossil fuel projects for gas, liquefied natural gas [brought] to the European Union. Fracked gas is going to be taken from my community, it is going to poison our people, and it is the antithesis of moving forward a Green Deal. It is absolutely totally against the idea that you are moving forward with the Green Deal if you back these 55 projects. And what we are asking you to do, from my community which will be poisoned by your need for our natural gas projects, is to dump those projects, scrap them, and put that money into real renewable energy, clean energy projects. You are wasting your money. I promise you, we are going to fight that gas leaving our country, and we are already in the process, so you are wasting your money.”


[3] EU Commission backs 55 controversial new fossil fuel projects


BREAKING: Fracking Banned in the United Kingdom

Fracking is too bad even for Boris; US political leaders must follow suit

The Guardian is reporting tomorrow that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a formal, immediate ban on fracking.

Drilling companies have targeted several UK sites for years, but a series of earthquakes have recently stalled operations. All along, intense local opposition movements have blocked drilling sites and pressured lawmakers across the country.

Johnson had been a vocal proponent of drilling, and his Conservative Party was the only major political party that still supported fracking.

In response to this news, Food & Water Europe and Food & Water Action executive director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“This monumental victory is a huge win for the movement to protect our water and our climate future, and it happened only because committed activists lobbied political leaders and put their bodies on the line. It is a testament to the power of bold, uncompromised climate action in the face of immense political and legal obstacles.

“The biggest loser here is Ineos billionaire CEO Jim Ratcliffe, whose business model seeks to deliver petrochemical pollution, plastics proliferation and planetary destruction. It was Ineos that sought to frack the UK, and they have been stopped by a determined activist movement.

“The bottom line: If fracking is so bad that even Boris Johnson had to say no, there is no excuse for political leaders and presidential candidates in the United States to be any less ambitious. For the sake of clean air, clean water and a safe climate, fracking must be banned everywhere.”

Breaking: Justification for Controversial Shannon Fracked Gas Terminal Eviscerated at European Commission Meeting Yesterday

Citing climate impacts, Sweden pulls LNG project off European Union’s energy projects of common interest list; Ireland must follow suit and reject fracked gas Shannon LNG terminal

Irish government now has until October 23 to remove Shannon terminal off European Union’s list for subsidies and permitting fastrack

Brussels — On Thursday, October 17, it was revealed at a European Commission meeting that the US fracked gas Shannon LNG import terminal is on the European Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, without assessing climate or sustainability impacts. Two other gas projects connected to Shannon LNG were shown to be taken off the list.

At the EU Committee on Industry, Research and Energy at the European Commission, members were unable to respond to criticism that this project has not undergone a sustainability study that would assess its impact on climate and Ireland’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. This criticism comes after the Swedish government recently removed the fossil gas LNG terminal in the Port of Gothenburg off the same PCI list, on the grounds that locking in fossil fuel dependence is inconsistent with climate targets.

TD Brid Smith said, “Breaking: Justification for Controversial Shannon Fracked Gas Terminal Eviscerated at European Commission Meeting YesterdayThis process has been shrouded in secrecy from the beginning and now we find out that the Swedish government has pulled a similar LNG fossil gas terminal off the PCI list based on the same climate concerns that members of the Dail, NGOs and scientists have raised, including at the Joint Oireachtais Committee on Climate Action last week. The question we need to now be asking is what is motivating the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton to continue to push the Shannon LNG fracked gas terminal?”

The Irish Government has until 23rd October to remove the Shannon LNG project from the PCI list. If the project remains on the list, it will become eligible for EU subsidies, and it would fast track planning permission that would override environmental impacts that the project would have on the protected Shannon Estuary – despite the fact that a decision of the European Court of Justice on the project is still pending.

Two projects (gas underground storage in Northern Ireland and a reverse flow pipeline to Scotland) that were connected to Shannon LNG were taken off the PCI list after the EU’s internal review found the projects “did not prove that their overall benefits outweigh costs”. The criteria for a project to be on the PCI list is that it has a significant impact on at least two EU member states. With the removal of the two connecting infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland and Scotland, Shannon LNG does not meet that criteria, yet currently remains on the list.

“The projects on the PCI list are intended to help the EU achieve its energy policy and climate objectives: affordable, secure and sustainable energy for all citizens, and the long-term decarbonisation of the economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and they must link at least two European member states. The Shannon project simply does not achieve any of these goals and must be removed from the PCI list,” said Kate Ruddock from Friends of the Earth.

“The grounds for approving this project are non-existent. The Shannon LNG terminal is planned to import fracked gas, which would torpedo the efforts of the Emerald Isle to achieve its climate targets. Now, the EU Commission admitted that even the formal criteria can’t be met by  Shannon LNG. If the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton don’t remove this project from the PCI list, it is evident that there is something more nefarious afoot. The public deserves to know what influence and false promises New Fortress Energy, the corporation behind the Shannon LNG terminal, are making to impact this decision,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch Europe.

The Shannon LNG terminal has become increasingly controversial as US campaigners have pointed out that the project would be supplied by fracked gas originating in the United States. . Health professionals, NGOs and advocates, including Mark Ruffalo and Michael Moore, sent a letter to the Taoiseach asking Ireland to block this project, which would re-energise the fracking industry and increase human suffering and pollution in the affected areas, specifically Pennsylvania.

Actor and anti-fracking campaigner Mark Ruffalo said, “The Taoiseach and the Irish government can follow Sweden’s lead here and show what real climate leadership looks like. We are working everyday in the US to ban fracking and help our fellow Americans who have been harmed by this industry. Unlike the US, the Irish government isn’t bought off by the fossil fuel industry — but if they approve this project on the PCI list on October 23, then it will appear that they are.”

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Richard Bruton has kept the process surrounding the PCI list shrouded in secrecy. He would not respond to TD Brid Smith’s request to inform the Dail of the date of the European Commission meeting. It was only after an Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) request from a local resident that the TDs and public learned the date of that meeting. Then, after the closed door meeting at the European Commission, Minister Bruton declined to share information with NGOs as to whether or not Shannon LNG and related gas projects were on the PCI list. It was not until 17 October that residents and groups learned what is on the final PCI list, and that Ireland has until 23 October to remove Shannon LNG off the list.

“Minister Richard Bruton refused to share information with members of the Dáil or the public about whether or not the Shannon LNG or connected projects would be on the list. The entire process lacks transparency, deepening concerns and criticisms about why Minister Bruton and members of the Irish government support the project that would bring dirty US fracked gas to Ireland,” said Kerry County local resident and Safety Before LNG’s John McElligott. 

Advocates in the US are pleading with the Irish government to stop the project. In recent months, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper has investigated and found least 67 diagnoses of cancers in children in just 4 rural, heavily-fracked counties of the state. Health professionals and scientists in the United States have been documenting the public health harms of fracking and related infrastructure for years now. The vast majority of more than 1,500 articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals, investigative reports by journalists, and reports from, or commissioned by, government agencies demonstrate that drilling, fracking, and related infrastructure LNG are dangerous and harmful.

“We are asking the Irish government to make this decision to stop the import of US fracked gas not only on the scientific and economic basis but also on a moral one. Ireland banned fracking because of the harm it would bring to public health and the environment. Please don’t import the fracked gas that is wreaking havoc in our state and our country,” said Pennsylvania resident and Better Path Coalition campaigner Karen Feridun.



Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth Ireland: [email protected]

Andy Gheorghiu, Policy Advisor and Campaigner, Food & Water Europe: [email protected], 0049 160 20 30 974

Scott Edwards, Director of Food & Water Justice: [email protected], 1.202.683.4969