Blog Posts: Environment

October 9th, 2015

Hard To Keep Up. Get the Latest on the #GlobalFrackdown and More.

By Geert Decock

Global Frackdown to ParisHere I am, busily preparing for the Global Frackdown. We are planning a delivery action of our awesome sign-on letter in Brussels to our elected officials, preparing a global gathering of anti-fracking activists during the climate summit in Paris (stay tuned for more details), and generally keeping up with the latest developments on shale gas in Brussels.

For example, we officially launched our latest report ‘Fracking Business (As Usual)’ last week, which clearly demonstrates how the European Commission’s soft-touch approach of the fracking industry is failing to protect the environment and health of European citizens. For starters, its ‘Recommendation’ on fracking, issued almost two years ago, is non-binding. The Recommendation is also quite vague on a number of crucial issues such as the chemicals used in fracking and the way fracking wastewater will be treated. Our report also details how the European Union institutions rely e.g. mainly on industry operators to establish a baseline on key environmental parameters. Needless to say that appealing to the better nature of Big Oil and Gas and pro-fracking governments of Poland and the UK has not made any difference on the ground.

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 22nd, 2015

How Far Will Cameron Push Fracking?

By Eve Mitchell

Ban FrackingPlanning just got sexy.

Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but planning just took centre stage in the fight against fracking in the UK, so we need to sit up and do something about it.

I normally talk about food (cloning and GM crops and such), but I live in the UK, and I’m worried about fracking. Just when the rest of Europe is figuring out that it doesn’t work economically, the UK charges full steam ahead. Why we are risking our countryside, our farming (with its billions in food exports) and who knows what else on such a bad deal I don’t know.

Read the full article…

September 3rd, 2015

“I Believe We Should Protect our Food Supplies.” Ban Cloning Now.

By Eve Mitchell

BanCloningBlogFoodandWaterEuropeJoeStonerNoClonesBanCloningFBHere’s what Lionel Burman of Wirral said: “Eating wholesome food is important to me. I would not undermine my health by eating junk food and I would never – ABSOLUTELY NEVER – serve cloned food to my family. I believe we should protect our food supplies. Ban cloning now.”

From the Highlands of Scotland to Bishopsteignton in Devon, people tell us over and over again they simply want cloning for food banned. They have lots or reasons.

Frances Sinclair of East Kilbride says, “I won’t serve cloned food to my family because I want them to be healthy and to be respectful of nature and the natural cycles of life. Food is so important to health and well being, not only ours, but the environment’s.”

You’ve heard the stats and the logic and the rest from me already. Cloning is cruel, it’s unwanted and it’s unnecessary. Now the crucial vote in the European Parliament seeking a ban on cloning for food is set for 8 September, and parallel discussions are taking place in the European Council. We need as many people as possible to tell decision-makers to vote for a full ban on clones, their descendants and imports to keep them out of the European food chain and off your dinner table. Since the Commission wants to let food from the descendants of clones into the food chain and refuses to consider labelling it, we really do need to get this right.

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…

August 14th, 2015

Scotland’s GM Ban Calls Everyone’s Bluff

By Eve Mitchell

Act to to Ban GM crops

Act to to Ban GM crops

Having had a few days to mull over Sunday’s announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead that Scotland will invoke the EU’s new opt-out mechanism to ban genetically modified (GM) crops, the cleverness of the move continues to impress. In one sense it’s merely a reiteration of Scotland’s long-standing ban on GM crops (a position shared with Welsh and Northern Irish administrations, all of whom have devolved power – full authority over – their agriculture), but that doesn’’t tell half the story.

Formally speaking, Scotland will now ask the (pro-GM) UK Government to ask the European Commission to ask any company seeking approval for a GM crop in Europe to exclude Scotland from said approval under the mechanism introduced earlier this year. It will also use the new law to ask for an opt-out of crops already authorised or in the approvals queue. Democratically-elected governments having to go cap-in-hand to GM companies for permission not to grow their products is, of course, a democratic outrage, but it’s not the only one.

Read the full article…

June 16th, 2015

Europe is Not for Shale!

By Geert Decock

Join the Global Frackdown

I wish that I could say that I planned it this way. The World Gas Union recently gathered in Paris, where ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson blasted European Union countries that have adopted a ban or a moratorium on fracking. And at the exact same time, activists from around Europe gathered in Brussels to share a very different message at the “Europe is Not for Shale” conference. Alas! It was a lucky coincidence. Planned or not, the two concurrent events provided a nice contrast between the pro-gas corporate roadshow in Paris and the grassroots efforts to resist fracking occurring in Brussels.

Read the full article…

May 11th, 2015

Just One Vote Short!

By Geert Decock

FoodandWaterEuropeOneVoteShortBanFrackingQuick newsflash! Some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were given the opportunity to take a clear stance on fracking on May 7. They could vote in favour or against an amendment (nr 366) that called for an immediate moratorium on fracking in the EU, urging Member States not to authorise any new unconventional hydraulic fracturing operations in the EU. We are thrilled to report that – of the 60 Members of the Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee – half of them (30!) voted in favour of this amendment.

This is the closest that the movement to stop fracking has ever come to getting (part of) an institution of the European Union endorsing a moratorium, and shows that political support for fracking and shale gas in the European Parliament is crumbling. And this is the Parliament’s Industry committee, which is usually in favour of ‘business’ – and by business, we mean Big Business like Big Oil & Gas. Read the full article…

April 24th, 2015

More Broken Promises about Democracy over GMOs

By Eve Mitchell

We say no to GMO

Another day, another disappointment about genetically modified (GM) food to fire us up. So be it.

Followers of our GM woes here in the EU may remember that the hard-won scientific underpinning of our laws on GM food and crops have been slowly undermined over the past few years, and our confidence in our food system further eroded at each step. Non-GM animal feed can now contain up to 0.9% GM material, which doesn’t feel like “non-GM” at all, and some want to apply a similar contamination level to food now, too. The central system for authorising new GM crops now enables countries to ban (sorry, “opt out”) of approved crops, confusing the pan-EU Single Market and annoying both citizens and the GM industry in one go. Honey can now contain GM pollen, but you have no way of knowing if it’s in the jar on your table. Read the full article…

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