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.

EU Ombudsman Opens Inquiry Into Lack of Climate Assessment for Fossil Gas Projects

Activists push for scrutiny of subsidized fossil gas Projects of Common Interest list

Brussels—On Wednesday, 12 February, the European Parliament voted in favour of the 4th list of so-called Projects of Common Interest (PCI) list, which includes 55 fossil gas projects, some of which are directly linked to imported fracked gas from the United States. But the EU’s handling of this list is coming under increased scrutiny, with the EU Ombudsman opening an official inquiry into the failure to consider the climate impacts of this new infrastructure.

The inquiry is a direct result of an official complaint filed with the Ombudsman on October 29 of last year by Andy Gheorghiu, Policy Advisor for Food & Water Europe, an environmental NGO based in Brussels. Despite the increasing pressure on the European Commission to avoid additional fossil fuel infrastructure, it adopted the Delegated Act establishing the fourth list of PCI projects – ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence about the negative climate impacts of fossil gas.

In addition to being bad policy, the 4th PCI list is non-compliant with EU Law and the Paris Agreement. At the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) meeting on October 17, 2019, Deputy Director of DG Energy Klaus-Dieter Borchardt admitted that the sustainability review mandate for PCI list-proposed projects, including the much needed climate/environmental assessment, has been ignored for over 6 years, calling into question the legality of every list to date, including the one just approved.

While the decision of the EU Ombudsman is highly welcome, the timing of its announcement raised concerns.

“The European Commission was notified about the EU Ombudsman’s inquiry. just two days before the vote of the European Parliament on the PCI list, and the public found out only after the vote”, said Andy Gheorghiu, Policy Advisor for Food & Water Europe. “Knowing about the Ombudsman’s decision to open up an inquiry into whether or not the PCIlist is non-compliant with EU Law and the climate targets would have influenced the decision of many MEPs to reject this list and return it to sender for review.”

Climate activists are calling on the EU Commission not to grant any actual funding to any of the fossil fuel projects on the current list before a proper comprehensive climate assessment has been conducted.

For more information contact:

Andy Gheorghiu, Policy advisor, Food & Water Europe
Tel. +49 160 20 30 974, email [email protected]

Official complaint

Letter of the EU Ombudsman




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


SHANNON LNG – Just Transition and Employment in Ireland’s South-West



 Ireland, like the rest of the world, needs to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels in order to meet its climate targets.
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Shannon LNG terminal proposed for Ballylongford, Co. Kerry has received political and business support as a potential source of jobs for this rural area. However, the climate impact of the LNG terminal, which would import climate-hostile and environmentally destructive fracked gas from the US, has called the terminal’s acceptability into serious doubt. Furthermore, the proposed terminal would lock Ireland into fossil fuel use right at the moment when the country needs to transition to renewable energies. Can the desire to provide employment to the South- West of Ireland be reconciled with the burning need to move away from fossil fuel extraction, production and consumption?

Learn more in Food & Water Watch’s Factsheet: Shannon LNG – Just Transition and Employment in Ireland’s South-West