Blog Posts: Europe

October 20th, 2017

Globalfrackdown 2017 (And Beyond)

By Andy Gheorghiu

Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.


This year groups from around the globe – moved by our joint spirit of “Not here or anywhere!” – rallied again in solidarity for a Global Frackdown.
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2nd Gas Conference – Global gas lock-in: Linking North-South Resistance

What happens if a bunch of activists working to halt gas infrastructure and raise awareness about the issues around gas meet in Brussels? A global network of “gastivists” is launched.

The first edition of the Brussels Gas Conference, co-organized by Food & Water Europe, was in September 2016. This year, we decided to repeat the successful conference at the end of September, this time focusing more on global supply chains of fossil gas.

Fighting the notion of gas as a bridge fuel – and fighting impacts of gas extractions

While most of the discussions around gas in Brussels concern its climate impact and security of supply as well as energy prices, the reality for people affected by gas extraction and gas infrastructure projects often looks different. In this year’s conference, representatives from EU-based organizations touched base with activists on the ground within and outside of Europe, broadening the joint narrative around gas. The Global North’s approach is to focus on the gas lobby‘s push to sell gas as green, clean and a necessary bridge-fuel supporting unreliable renewables – backed by hordes of lobbyists and huge payments for lobby material. On the other hand, participants from the Global South in particular made clear that in extracting countries, land grabbing, loss of livelihood, increase of socio-economic inequality, corruption and human rights abuse are the issues they highlight when talking about fossil gas.

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October 18th, 2017

Food and Water Europe Welcomes a New Campaigner!

By Antoine Tifine

Hi! I’m Antoine, the new campaigns intern at Food & Water Europe in Brussels. I started one month ago and the few things I have done so far, working on issues like factory farms and energy, have been very promising. But, first, let me introduce myself.
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September 26th, 2017

Betting on Chaos: Financial Firms Seek to Cash In on Climate Change

By Mitch Jones

Earlier this month the Financial Times reported that a new climate change prediction market [subscription required] is being created in the United Kingdom. The market, similar to a sports betting book, is the “brainchild” of the financial firm Winton Capital. Initially, the market will allow bets on levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and on temperature rises, but Winton Capital hopes to expand it in the future so that sea level rise, extreme weather, and other pollution levels become the topic of bets.

What’s equally strange is that Winton Capital is paying for this market out of its philanthropic budget. There’s nothing philanthropic about betting on climate change.
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September 8th, 2017

Join the Global Frackdown 2017 – Together We Make a Difference

The Movement to Ban Fracking Is Growing

UPDATE: See photos from the 2017 Global Frackdown

The oil and gas industry is spending millions of dollars on slick public relations campaigns and high-profile lobbying efforts to buy the ability to extract fossil fuels from our communities with as little government oversight as possible. Yet public opinion continues to grow in opposition to fracking.

While the industry is working hard to protect its profits and drown out the worldwide demand for clean, renewable fuels, there is a tremendous movement afoot around the world to protect the climate and the environment.

Since 2012, the Global Frackdown – an international day of action initiated by Food & Water Watch to ban fracking – has helped connect activists across the globe and demonstrated the growing power of the movement to stop fracking, gas infrastructure, sand mining and other related extraction methods. This movement is fueled by increasing scientific evidence of the impact of fracking on water, air, health, seismic stability, communities, and the climate on which we all depend.

Our Demands

The Global Frackdown went to Paris in 2015

The Global Frackdown began as a single international day to fight fracking. In 2015, it took over all of November with The “Global Frackdown to Paris” highlighting our growing movement and building pressure on national leaders to oppose fracking during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

We fight to:

  • Stop fracking,
  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground
  • Put a halt on the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade
  • Prevent a further fossil lock-in through bad investments in oil and gas infrastructure.

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August 29th, 2017

Tour d’Europe, Part II: Great Victories of the Movement to Ban Fracking

By Tina Callebaut

During my last days as an intern here at Food & Water Europe I would like to take you on a tour of the many different victories against fracking in Europe. As drilling has started in Lancashire despite opposition from local communities, it is now more important than ever to stand together in solidarity to not only halt but prevent fracking projects everywhere by banning the technique and promoting the development of clean renewable energy. Here is a run down of the current state of fracking in Europe.

France

Let’s kick off our tour with a visit to France, where in March 2010, two exploration permits were granted for shale gas. The licenses covered in total an area of around 9.672 km². Massive protests followed, which led the Prime Minister at the time, François Fillon, to declare a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas in 2011, which prohibits the exploration and exploitation of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons through hydrofracturing and cancels the exploration permits for projects where hydraulic fracturing would be used. France’s Constitutional Court confirmed the constitutionality of the ban and the revocation of the permits in October 2013.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the law only prohibits the use of hydraulic fracturing, but does not impose a ban on the exploration or exploitation of gas through other techniques. As the technique is not clearly defined by the law, small changes and new innovations might already have the ability to circumvent this ban. However, in June 2017, the French minister of environmental transition announced that there would no longer be any permits granted for the exploration or extraction of hydrocarbons in France. Nice one, France!

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August 28th, 2017

Privatized Profits, Socialized Risks: The Ruse of Natural Gas Exports

The natural gas export boom is tied to the spread of fracking, an inherently dangerous activity that threatens public health and our climate.

By Mitch Jones
Originally published in Food & Water Watch

Food & Water Watch’s Mitch Jones on what Congress SHOULD push for.

A new Short Term Energy Outlook released by the United States Energy Information Administration this week predicts that the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas this year and will remain so for the foreseeable future. That’s a remarkable turn of events given that the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the lower 48 states didn’t happen until February 2016. In addition to the existing pipelines for export of LNG to Canada, pipeline capacity for exports to Mexico are set to almost double by 2019. In addition, LNG export facilities are being expanded at Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Cove Point in Maryland is set to open later this year. Four additional facilities are currently under construction and expected to be exporting by 2020 when the United Sates is set to become the third largest exporter of LNG in the world.

The drive to ship natural gas overseas isn’t limited to LNG. The Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania is being developed to export natural gas liquids for the plastics industry. The growth of the exploitation of fracked gas in the Marcellus Shale has been a boon for the plastics industry. It relies on petrochemical manufacturing to turn ethane, found in “wet” natural gas along with methane and other hydrocarbons, into plastics. Since 2012 chemical companies have aggressively invested in petrochemical plants and export facilities focused on profiting off the ethane glut that results from fracking.

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July 3rd, 2017

How Our Fossil Fuel Addiction is Ruining Our Oceans

By Taylor Avery of Food & Water Watch

Across the globe, people purchase about 20,000 plastic bottles every second. The vast majority of these bottles are not recycled and end up in landfills or in the ocean. It’s escalating into a major environmental crisis, and the fossil fuel industry is partially to blame.

While many of these bottles are made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a highly recyclable material, efforts to recycle fail to keep up with the growing rate at which people use plastic bottles. Moreover, major food corporations continue to manufacture demand for soda and bottled water, packaged mainly in plastic, which takes hundreds of years to decompose.

In 2010, nearly 200 coastal countries generated over 275 million tons of plastic waste. In 2016, 480 billion tons of plastic drinking bottles were sold across the world. A report conducted by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) found only about 30 percent of PET bottles in the U.S. (most bottled water bottles) were recycled in 2015. Major drink brands like Coca-Cola produce the greatest number of plastic bottles, but the top six beverage companies package their products in bottles that use very little recycled PET. That mostly unrecycled plastic ends up in the ocean where it is consumed by wildlife.

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June 26th, 2017

Tour d’Europe: 6 Particularly Unnecessary Gas Projects in the EU

In this week’s blog, Frida Kieninger from Food & Water Europe takes you on a tour across Europe, examining six of a host of unnecessary planned gas projects. All of these projects currently try to get on the EU Commission’s “Projects of Common Interest” list (PCI list). Here’s why we find these infrastructure plans are far from being in the common interest:

  1. Italy – More Algerian Pipeline Gas?

Italy, the EU’s third biggest gas consumer, has big ambitions concerning the expansion of its already very dense and interconnected infrastructure. Besides plans to build more LNG terminals (import terminals able to regasify liquefied gas shipped to Italy from all over the world), there is also a host of pipeline projects planned. An especially daring one is the Galsi Pipeline, aiming at connecting Algeria and Italy, running through Sardinia. The problem? While Galsi’s construction will be complex and costly, planning to be the deepest underwater pipeline ever built, it’s hard to see the need for this pipeline: Two pipelines that aren’t fully used already connect Italy to North Africa, Tunisia and Algeria. Italy even announced recently it would stop importing Algerian gas via pipeline. Additionally, the country has a number of LNG terminals that are far from being used at full capacity. To be more precise, two of Italy’s three existing LNG terminals were only used at 7% and 3% capacity respectively in the last years.

This infrastructure development comes at a time when gas usage in Italy has decreased by around 19% between 2010 and 2015. Algeria, however, relies  almost 100% on gas for electricity generation while its own resources are more and more depleted. Building a pipeline from Algeria, which relies on gas, to Italy, which doesn’t need Algerian gas, makes no sense.

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May 31st, 2017

Trump About to Withdraw from Paris Agreement While Ireland Passes Fracking Ban

It is a historic day on which one nation passes a ban on onshore fracking, while another nation intends to walk away from the Paris climate agreement.

Paris agreement withdrawal makes U.S. a rogue nation

In her statement, Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe, roundly condemns Trumps withdrawal from the global climate agreement:

The Paris accord falls far short of the bold, decisive action needed to avert the most serious impacts of impending climate chaos – but it is certainly better than nothing. By choosing to walk away from the table, the United States effectively becomes a rogue nation when it comes to matters of climate change, human rights and global leadership in general. Mr. Trump’s foolish, belligerent decision to abdicate responsibility at the federal level now makes real action on climate at the state and local levels even more critical. For the sake of our planet and future generations, it is imperative that elected leaders at every rung of government – from the smallest town halls to the halls of Congress – do everything in their power to resist fossil fuels and help enable a clean energy revolution.”

Americans must do everything in their power to counteract Trump’s destructive plans, but action in other countries is now more important than ever. It might be a silver lining that on the very day the U.S. president disregards the first global accord to combat climate change, the Irish Dáil decides to forbid the production of hydrocarbons by fracking.

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