Blog Posts: Pollution

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.

Read the full article…

January 27th, 2017

Rick Perry, Gas Exporter-In-Chief?

By Peter Hart (reposted from Food & Water Watch)

In 2011, former Texas governor Rick Perry counted the Department of Energy among the government agencies he would eliminate as president—until he famously couldn’t remember the department’s name during a Republican debate.

Naturally, the very same Rick Perry was tapped by the Trump administration to run the Energy Department. And according to the New York Times, Perry accepted the job thinking that it had quite a bit to do with oil and gas drilling. While that would have been especially convenient to his corporate backers, Perry has by now discovered that most of the Department of Energy’s work concerns nuclear weapons and government scientific research facilities.

Read the full article…

January 19th, 2017

Dutch Gas Extraction and “Gas Quakes”

By Frida Kieninger

Image of home damaged by earthquake.

Propped up home destabilized by several smaller and medium earthquakes close to Uithuizen, Groningen

Many homes in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium are heated with gas from the Netherlands. Along with a few smaller gas fields, the Groningen gas field supplies around 15 percent of Europe’s gas consumption.

In 1959 the Dutch oil and gas company NAM surprisingly discovered a huge gas field – the tenth biggest gas field in the world and the largest in Europe. Over the years, NAM produced around 1700 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in the Groningen fields and estimates that there are around 1000bcm left underground.

In the seventies, gas production was highest and peaked with over 80bcm of gas produced in 1976. It rose again significantly in 2013, and many people living in and around the gas fields also have an explanation why: Before 2013, the magnitude and the frequency of earthquakes rose and the damage could no longer be ignored. Given that the earthquakes are unmistakeably linked to large scale gas extraction in the region (even Shell and ExxonMobil acknowledge that), the operating gas companies knew they would soon be limited in the amount of gas they could extract and went all out to extract the then fixed maximum possible amount of gas of 53bcm – probably for the last time.

Read the full article…

November 17th, 2016

Part II: Reform of the Emissions Trading System — Nothing but patches on a broken system

By Frida Kieninger

foodandwatereuropeoncarbonemissionsIn part one of this blog, I referred to the obvious inefficiency of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). While the ETS is praised to be the key element of the European climate policy, it fails to deliver and is less efficient than other factors such as energy prices and the overall tendency towards more sustainability.

The danger of an inefficient system — so big that it covers around 45 percent of the EU`s greenhouse gas emissions — is its potential to cancel out existing and future policies at the EU and national level that would really contribute to emission reductions. Ironically, this results in the ETS doing potentially more harm than good in the fight against global warming.

Read the full article…

November 15th, 2016

Part I: Get Out of the Way of Real Climate Action

By Frida Kieninger

foodandwatereuroperealclimateactionETS: Only A Side Effect

The European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) tries to lower greenhouse gases by putting a price on carbon and trading it in the form of allowances. It is the world’s biggest trading system for emissions and was launched over 10 years ago. The big downside of the supposed fairy tale of a miraculous cap-and-trade system is that there is no proof that the ETS has actually caused reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

A study commissioned by the EU Commission finds that the ETS alone was not the driving factor in companies and sectors choosing to invest in carbon-efficient solutions. Rather, these actors were mainly influenced by other factors like the cost of energy and raw materials, as well as the growing environmental awareness of stakeholders and consumers.

Read the full article…

January 21st, 2016

Fracking: How Bad Is It?

By Geert Decock

CouldGoWrongFoodWaterEuropeBanFracking

Fracking is a bad idea. But how bad is fracking? Pretty awful, particularly if you are confronted with dozens of rigs, fracking equipment, trucks and spills, … But exactly how bad is fracking? Stubborn scientists are digging deep to find out more about the dirty secrets of the fracking industry. The scientists that advised the US Environmental Protection Agency about the impacts of fracking on water rejected the greenwashing communication about their report, which “does not reflect the uncertainties and data limitations described in the body of the Report”. Just before Christmas, other scientists published an article confirming that oil and gas operations in Texas leak almost twice as much gas as has been estimated. That gas, so-called fugitive methane, is a very powerful greenhouse gas and even a little bit of leakage calls into question the status of gas as low-carbon or a transition fuel. To top it off, researchers at Yale University found that many of the fluids used in and created by fracking have been linked to reproductive and developmental health problems.

Read the full article…

December 17th, 2015

Looking Back at the Paris Agreement: A Ban on Fracking Was Never More Urgent

By Geert Decock

The Paris agreement on climate change is less than a week old, yet its contents have already been intensely analysed. Below, we want to share the top five analyses that we have read so far.

The Paris agreement and the promises by 196 governments do not offer any guarantee that the world will limit global warming to a safe level: Even if all parties kept their promises, “the planet would warm by an estimated […] 3.5 degrees Celsius, above preindustrial levels. And that is way, way too much,” says Bill McKibben of 350.org in the New York Times.

The Paris agreement offers too little, too late. “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. […} In fairness, the failure does not belong to the Paris talks, but to the whole process. […] The talks in Paris are the best there have ever been. And that is a terrible indictment,” says George Monbiot in The Guardian.

One of the main reasons why we remain deeply critical of the Paris agreement is one glaring omission in the text, as Food & Water Watch pointed out in its statement (also pointed out by Naomi Klein on her Twitter feed). How is it – after 21 years of climate summits – that we STILL cannot name the elephant in the room?

FoodandWaterEuropeNaomiKleinTwitterCop21

Read the full article…

November 16th, 2015

Victory in the European Parliament: A U-turn On Fracking!

By Geert Decock

Food & Water Europe You Can't Frack HereSUMMARY: Ahead of the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, our activists are helping turn the tide on fracking in Europe.

Earlier this month, as part of the Global Frackdown to Paris, we released a letter signed by over 1,250 groups in 64 countries, sending a strong signal to the world’s leaders that fracking and extreme energy extraction must not be part of any plan to tackle climate change that comes out of the international climate conference in Paris later this month.

Read the full article…

December 13th, 2013

It was a Bad Idea in 1489…

By Eve Mitchell

Some things get better with age — fine wine, farmhouse cheese. Some just don’t.

It’s all the fashion these days to talk about a “new” way to ensure that companies involved in food production are held accountable for the environmental damage they do. Often called natural capital accounting or offsetting, the theory is that if we attach a notional price to, say, healthy soil and clean water, then companies can use that information to account for any damage they do, or be somehow rewarded for avoiding this damage.

Among the several difficulties with this approach are that (a) it isn’t new and (b) it doesn’t work.

To the folks promoting this stuff: please convince me that this isn’t an extension of the Enclosures and Clearances on a global scale, because it sure feels like it. 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!

-->