Blog Posts: Europe

February 28th, 2019

ExxonMobil Comes To Brussels

By Eilidh Robb

Update, March 19 : ExxonMobil, despite happily using lobbying opportunities in the European Parliament and other EU institutions, has refused parliamentarians’ invitation to speak at the hearing. This is unacceptable. Parliament must act to hold Exxon accountable. At the hearing, we will be asking them to revoke their lobbying access entirely, just as they did with Monsanto in 2017.

In the same way that we look back on the tobacco industry’s remarkable PR stunts and wonder how they got away with it, we will look back on the activities of ExxonMobil and ask ourselves the same question.

For the past 50 years ExxonMobil has been sitting on some pretty important findings about the certainty of human-induced climate change – findings that they conveniently hid from the world by launching a $33 billion campaign to sow doubt and denial about global warming, which allowed them to justify continued pollution.
Read the full article…

February 15th, 2019

Zurich Citizens’ Vote for Public Water

By David Sánchez

Learn more about stopping water privatization in Zurich.To a certain extent, attempts to privatise water have started looking like an anachronism in Europe. From Madrid and Thessalonoki to Berlin and Italy, every time citizens have been asked, they have massively supported public water management. If we have learned a lesson after years of imposed austerity, it is that water privatization can only have a chance when it is imposed against citizens’ will, as we are still witnessing in Greece. With a trend to remunicipalise water services around the world, some of the main examples are happening in European cities like Terrassa and Valladolid in Spain; Montpellier in France; Mafra in Portugal; and Torino in Italy.

The last ones to reject privatization plans are the citizens of Zurich, Switzerland. Last Sunday, voters rejected (by more than 50 percent) the plans of the cantonal government to allow the partial privatization of water utilities and to give private land owners a greater say in river and lakeshore use.

Rejecting recommendations by the main centre-right parties and big business, a campaign lead by left wing parties, unions and environmental groups managed to raise awareness about water commodification and against the privatization of nature.

Saying no is not enough

The morning after the referendum, an initiative was introduced in the parliament of the Canton of Zurich to guarantee public ownership over water and take initiatives to promote the human right to water. It’s a great example of how we can move from resistance into proactive campaigns to secure a model of public water management that promotes social justice.

If you read German, you can get more information about the situation in Zurich in the website of the campaign and in the press release from the trade unions.

February 8th, 2019

Over 67,000 Signatures Against Proposed Fracked Gas LNG Terminals in Germany

by Andy Gheorghiu

“Gassy” Germany Beats “Green” Germany

Action in Berlin. (Photo by Uwe Hiksch)

Despite its “green” image, Germany remains the biggest gas consumer in Europe. Using almost 92 billion cubic metres (bcm) of fossil gas in 2017, gas accounted for 24 percent in Germany’s primary energy consumption. And the so-called “Climate Chancellor”, Angela Merkel, recently announced in Davos that the targeted coal phase-out will further increase Germany’s need for gas.

Because of its comprehensive cross-border pipeline infrastructure and its central location, Germany has become the main gas transit hub in Europe, with significant amounts of gas from Russia and Norway transiting the country for delivery to other markets: With a gas import capacity of 54 bcm per year from Norway (via three pipelines), 208 bcm per year from Russia (via 3 pipelines: North Stream 1, Yamal and the Ukraine pipeline system), and some 25 bcm per year from the Netherlands (via four main pipelines and interconnection points), and gas storage capacities of 24.6 bcm (via 51 gas storage facilities), Germany can import and store more than three times more gas than it consumes. According to the German Economy Ministry, Germany’s gas storage facilities are the fourth largest in the world and the largest in Europe.
Read the full article…

December 7th, 2018

10 facts about gas that you might not know yet

When is gas not a gas? When it threatens our health and all we hold dear and need to simply live and thrive.

The COP24 climate talks in Poland are focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuels and they still don’t get how bad gas is.

Food & Water Europe has been working to stop fracking and gas infrastructure for years. Together with the Gastivsts, we are getting out the truth out about gas and the dangers it and the industry pose. We hope you will spread the word, too.

Gas is dangerous for the climate

Gas is a fossil fuel and a potent greenhouse gas. When we burn gas, considerable amounts of CO2 are emitted, just like coal and oil. On top of that, gas fuels climate change by emitting methane, a greenhouse gas that directly leaks out in the atmosphere at every point in the supply chain!

Gas and the Paris Agreement? Incompatible

Gas is a dirty fossil fuel, similarly bad for our climate as coal. We do not have time for wrong solutions or alleged “bridge fuels” that do not reduce our emissions. Gas will slow down the energy transformation that we need.

Gas is a social justice issue

Our consumption of fossil gas prolongs the unjust fossil fuel model and cements a neocolonial, neoliberal and capitalistic system. From Azerbaijan to Algeria, local people must bear the burden and risks of fossil gas extraction, but do not reap any benefits. A few elites and companies profit from the gas, which only leads to growing inequality.

Gas will not benefit workers

The gas and fracking industry often creates much less local and full time jobs than expected. Employment in the field is often temporary and high skill jobs are filled with foreign experts. Gas will lock us into an unjust and unsustainable fossil fuel system – we need to democratise our energy system and improve workers rights.

CAUTION : Gas can damage your health

Fracking in particular can have serious impacts on affected communities health: respiratory diseases, rashes, nosebleeds, reduced birth weight, impacts on mental health and illnesses linked to often carcinogenic fracking chemicals. Communities must bear these risks, while the fossil fuel industry makes a profit.

No room for gas in our energy transition

The fossil fuel industry tells us to replace coal by gas. But the energy transition we fight for is a transition towards a democratic energy system where local communities decide and manage their own clean energy. Gas is not clean and will still be managed by multinational corporations, it is a false solution!

Gas is coal’s best friend

The anti-coal movement has been leading a fierce fight from the Philippines to Germany! As they win, the fossil fuel companies think they can replace coal by gas to keep their business going as usual. But we will directly lead a transition to clean energy and to community-owned energy systems!

Gas companies do not respect human rights

The companies extracting gas and building gas infrastructure, such as Bonatti, Shell, TransCanada and ExxonMobil, are involved in human right violations, corruption cases, indigenous right abuses. We will not let them remain unaccountable.

Gas activists are criminalised and threatened

From the UK to Mexico, from Argentina to Italy, local people that are fighting the imposition of gas projects are being increasingly criminalised and threatened. As they try and exercise their right to their land or to protest, they are being framed as an enemy of the state and face increasing repression. We stand in solidarity with all of them.

Gas extraction causes earthquakes

Gas extraction has been proved to create earthquakes damaging people’s home, physical safety and mental health. In the Netherlands, over 100,000 homes have been damaged by the extraction of gas in Groningen. People are not able to sell their house and move, they must remain in unsafe homes.

 

December 6th, 2018

Another COP Flooded by Fossil Fuel Corporations

By Frida Kieninger

This week COP24, the UN climate change conference, kicked off in Katowice, Poland. Ahead of the COP, activities took place in various countries to show the peoples’ demand for truly ambitious climate talks and against false solutions. Brussels saw what is most likely its largest climate march in history on 2 December and thousands of Australian students went on strike over their government’s inaction on climate change.

The COP host country and particularly the region around Katowice are heavily dependent on coal, and fossil fuel corporations are not only sponsoring the talks but also very visible throughout the conference. To showcase this blatant case of conflict of interest, public interest group Corporate Europe Observatory will organize a lobby tour around the COP24 location.

What else is happening around gas at the COP?
Read the full article…

November 30th, 2018

A U-turn for Climate Policies in Spain

By David Sánchez and Frida Kieninger

The clock is ticking for climate change. And politicians know, at least some of them. The new Spanish government is radically changing climate policies in the country. While the previous one imposed a tax on solar energy and removed incentives for renewables, the new Ministry for Ecological Transition has published a draft for a Climate Change legislation that created a huge controversy.

According to the draft that answers a historical demand from environmental groups like Friends of the Earth Spain, at least 20% of the national budget will be earmarked for climate action. There are a lot of good measures in the project, including:

  • A 100% renewable energy electricity system by 2050 (70% by 2030).
  • A ban on fracking (but not on imports of fracked gas).
  • No more fossil fuel exploration licenses (onshore and offshore). The existing ones will phase out by 2040.
  • A ban on subsides or economic incentives for fossil fuels and a review of the existing ones to eliminate them.
  • Installation of 3,000 new megawatts of renewable energy per year.

This all sounds good, but there is still a lot to improve. The draft sets 2040 as the date to ban sale of gasoline and diesel cars, when other European countries have been more ambitious. Furthermore, while Spain is turning into a pig factory farm nation and the meat industry is the fourth biggest in the country (after the auto, oil and electricity industries), there is no mention in the draft about emissions coming from industrial agriculture.
Read the full article…

November 14th, 2018

Germany’s “Climate Chancellor” Is Bowing Down to Trump’s Pressure, But We Won’t

Updated 7 December 2018

by Andy Gheorghiu

Not long ago, Germany’s Angela Merkel was hailed internationally as the “Climate Chancellor”. Under the former environment minister (1994 – 1998), the German government made headlines worlwide for its achievements related to its energy transition (the “Energiewende”) and the country also introduced a moratorium on shale gas fracking until 2021.

However, it seems as if – along with the rise of far-right nutters all over the world – more and more politicians and political parties are willing to throw away the last bits of committed climate action.

Under pressure from Trump’s administration, Merkel has caved in and now promises to support and even co-finance the construction of at least one liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal with public money.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier called the support a “gesture to our American friends” – in full awareness of the fact that market analysts called the decision “the creation of an investment-ruin” clearly outlining that “Germany doesn’t need Trump’s gas.“
Read the full article…

October 22nd, 2018

Providing Universal Access to Water for all in the European Union Could Help Reducing Plastic Waste

By David Sánchez

This Tuesday, the plenary of the European Parliament will vote on a legislation regulating water for human consumption. The European Commission is framing this directive as an answer to the European Citizens’ Initiative for the Human Right to Water.

Already more than forty civil society organisations from all over the world sent a letter to Members of the European Parliament encouraging them to support the Human Right to Water in this vote. Now, organisations fighting waste and plastic pollution reminded MEPs of the importance to be coherent with efforts done under the circular economy package and take clear commitments to reduce the consumption of bottled water in the European Union.

You can check out the joint letter with Friends of the Earth Europe, Zero Waste Europe, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Seas at Risk, Rethink Plastics, Break Free from Plastic, Environmental Investigation Agency and Food & Water Europe.

See the letter

October 18th, 2018

This Was the Gasdown-Frackdown 2018, the First Global Day of Action Against Gas and Fracking

People across the planet united to send a joint message to governments, corporations and fellow citizens: NO to gas, NO to fracking – YES to a truly clean future! Thousands of people got involved in over seventy actions that took place in more than fifty cities around the world.

The following are just some of the many actions which happened during the Gasdown-Frackdown days of action across six continents. If you are more into pictures (or video), check out this wonderful, colorful photo album to get an impression of the creativity and energy activists put into this action day.

Latin America: Rock concerts, human letters and workshops against fracking

San Rafael, Argentina: Agrupación: Lucha, Tierra y Agua organized an anti-fracking rock concert to mobilize against fracking

In Monterrey, Mexico, an entire day was dedicated to workshops about the impacts of fracking on water and the environment. In Argentina, two major actions took place: People in Mendoza wrote a message against fracking with their own bodies, highlighting a powerful fight for clean water. In San Rafael, Argentina, a rock concert was organized to feed the anti-fracking movement with rhythms and sounds. Meanwhile in Lima, Peru people discussed issues around fracking. And there are still actions in Latin America to come, for example in Bolivia and Colombia – stay tuned!

Read the full article…

October 11th, 2018

We’re Taking Action for the #GasDownFrackDown 2018

We urge World Sailing Association to exclude Ineos sailing team

by Andy Gheorghiu

After pledging to “beat plastic pollution” earlier this year, World Sailing’s President comes under fire for allowing UK petrochemical giant INEOS to sponsor the UK sailing team. INEOS’s sponsorship can be seen as nothing but blatant greenwashing, which directly undermines the ethics of World Sailing.

In its Code of Ethics, World Sailing makes a promise “to protect the environment on the occasion of any events…and to uphold generally accepted standards for environmental protection.” World Sailing further claims to support the objectives of increasing and developing awareness of sustainability issues amongst all sailing stakeholders.

In June this year, World Sailing joined the Clean Seas Campaign, partnering with the International Olympic Committee and UN Environment to ‘beat plastic pollution’.

The ongoing presence of INEOS Team UK in World Sailing’s headline event single-handedly shatters these endeavours, bringing World Sailing, into disrepute.
Read the full article…

Welcome!

You are reading Food & Water Europe's blog.

Please join the conversation by leaving comments.

Feel free to contact us.

Blog Categories

Blog archives

Sign Up To:

Champion healthy food and clean water and stand up to corporations that put profits before people!

-->