Blog Posts: Economy

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…

September 28th, 2015

Fracking in Romania: Gone, but Hardly Forgotten

By Marina Stefan, Romanian Anti-Fracking Activist

Food & Water Europe Romania FrackdownIn February 2015, oil and gas industry giant Chevron announced that they were suspending plans to begin fracking in Romania. But the fight for a ban on fracking in the country is far from over. Romanian anti-fracking activist Marina Stefan shares an update on the state of shale gas exploration in her country and what the future of drilling in Romania could look like.

New Players, New Fracking Permits

Despite Chevron’s retreat from fracking in Romania this past February, there is still an interest from the corporation and others to pursue the exploitation of our country’s natural resources. The ANRM (National Authority for Mineral Resources) has issued at least 16 permits for the exploration of shale gas to Chevron, NIS-Gazprom, MOL-Hungary, East West Petroleum, Clara Petroleum, Universal Premium and ADX.

Read the full article…

Two and a half million Europeans say, “Stop TTIP!”

By Eve Mitchell

Say no to TTIPThat’s a lot of people. Folks aren’t happy about TTIP. They’re right to worry.

Promises from politicians keep rolling in about how much we’ll all benefit, but it doesn’t add up – more exports can’t fix everyone’s economic problems. Big companies support TTIP, and they’ve got the lobbying power to back them up. Only 4 percent of EU Commission lobbying meetings surveyed were with public interest groups – 92 percent were with private sector lobbyists.

When it comes to TTIP, being big matters. Whatever they say in public, behind the scenes big business knows who will win, and who will lose, under TTIP. Even the UK Confederation of British Industry says TTIP gains for small- and medium-sized businesses are “hypothetical“. Big business is also perfectly happy if TTIP erodes our right to make new rules to protect us and our environment since it makes their jobs easier.

Read the full article…

September 16th, 2015

What a Shame – The UK MEPs Who Failed on Clone Ban

By Eve Mitchell

PierreVicaryFoodWaterEuropeBanCloningTaFIt’s hard to shock me anymore, and I knew that the UK was causing problems over a ban on cloning for food, but even I was surprised at how bad it is. It is more important than ever for us to keep up our pressure to make the UK change course.

On 8 September the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly, again, for a full ban on cloning for food (529 in favour of a ban, 120 against). This is superb news and a testament to the hard work over many years of the MEPs fighting in our corner.

Read the full article…

September 11th, 2015

UK Milk Crisis – The Rest of The Story

By Eve Mitchell

dairy cows grazing

UK dairy farmers are understandably at their wits’ ends. Trying to stay in business selling your goods at a price that doesn’t cover what it costs you to make it must really wear you down when you know what you make is in nearly every fridge in the land. Farmers have been squeezed hard, particularly by supermarkets using milk as a loss leader (of course they want to pay as little as possible if they aim to sell the milk at a loss anyhow).

Read the full article…

August 19th, 2015

Fracking and Europe: Shale Fail & Preparing for The 2015 Global Frackdown to Paris

Post Summer Wrap-up on Fracking in Europe

By Geert Decock

Global Frackdown to ParisDid you go ‘unplugged’ this summer, when you were walking in the mountains or hitting the beaches? Were you not checking the World Wide Web for the latest news on fracking, shale gas, unconventional oil and gas?

Not to worry, this blog will catch you up in no time.

The summer of 2015 was barely underway when the Dutch government decided that there will be no commercial shale exploration before 2020. The Dutch government first wants to get a clearer view on the transition of the Netherlands to a zero-carbon energy mix. Once the post-2020 energy mix of the Netherlands is better understood, a decision will be made whether the moratorium on shale gas continues. In any case, the licences that had been awarded to the exploration company Cuadrilla were cancelled.

Read the full article…

April 17th, 2015

Europe’s TTIP Charm Offensive

By Eve Mitchell

Say no to TTIPIf you believe the sales pitch, this TTIP thing is too good to be true. Just ask EU Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom. Her speeches around Europe are peppered with examples of alleged “wins” designed to convince us it’s a good deal. I’m not buying it, and neither should you. 

The themes the Commissioner is peddling are pretty easy to spot. Malmstrom is clear the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will make us richer by giving us more lucrative jobs under better governments with stronger economies in an apparent Shangri-la of international cooperation where “we stay well away from areas where we don’t agree” (like GM food and crops). Read the full article…

February 23rd, 2015

Fracking Scorecard: Shale Gas In Retreat In The European Union

By Geert Decock 

Which country will stand against fracking next?

France. Belgium. Scotland. Wales. We’ve got a slew of wins against fracking to acknowledge and celebrate. But we cannot rest on our laurels. The profiteers are working to keep their dirty and dangerous fracking operations active and they will continue to do so until we work together to make sure there is a complete ban in Europe and beyond!

Those of us following the debate on fracking in Europe are probably aware that France and Bulgaria already banned fracking, in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Big Oil & Gas has challenged these bans, even all the way up to the Constitutional Court in France. But these bans on fracking are still standing. This is a testament to how strong public opinion rejects fracking for shale gas. So far, no other Member State has moved to also ban fracking in their national law.

However, that does not necessarily mean that shale gas is advancing elsewhere. Quite the contrary: Over the few months, a slew of new moratoriums on fracking has come in effect. It started in the summer of 2014, when the regional Flemish government decided that – in the absence of some minimal rules and administrative capacity on fracking – there would be a moratorium for the exploration and production of fossil fuels that require fracking. In December 2014, the Dutch Parliament also voted in favour of another extension of an earlier moratorium, at least until the end of the current government of Prime Minister Rutte. This means that there may be no fracking in the Netherlands until mid-2017. Read the full article…

January 29th, 2015

Water Activists, Beware of Free Trade Agreements!

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
  • Read our new fact sheet: Trading Away Public Water: Trade Negotiations and Water Services
  • Join more than 1 million Europeans and sign the self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative to Stop TTIP and CETA

STOP TTIP

By David Sánchez 

Citizens in Europe are still resisting the last wave to privatize water, as a consequence of austerity measures imposed in several countries affected by the crisis. Attempts were blocked in Greece and are still being resisted in countries like Ireland. On the other hand, we have a new wave of cities taking back public control over water management, like Paris and Berlin. But those victories, and the huge effort to keep water public and enforce the human right to water in the European Union (EU), are facing now another major threat. Read the full article…

January 28th, 2015

Oil, Gas and Water Just Do Not Mix

By Geert Decock

Oil, Gas and Water Don't MixKids learn in a basic science experiment that when you try to mix oil and water, oil will float to the top, because the two substances don’t mix. I had to think back to such experiments when reading a report on Water Innovation in Oil and Gas 2014, published by the London Environmental Investment Forum and sponsored by Veolia.

The water sector sees a major new growth opportunity in the development of unconventional fossil fuels, such as shale gas, tight gas and coal-bed methane. These oil and gas resources can only be extracted by the use of fracking, which involves injecting millions of litres of water at high pressure underground, mixed with sand and (at times toxic) chemicals. Read the full article…

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