Blog Posts

November 14th, 2018

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

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…

Fracking4Plastics – a Link that Drives Plastic and Climate Pollution

by Andy Gheorghiu

I guess that when people think of plastic pollution most of the time they think of single use plastic items (such as plastic bags, cotton buds, plastic straws, and food & beverage packaging).

I also guess that – when people think about getting active against plastic pollution – some people would like to introduce bans on single-use plastic bags and cotton buds as well as bottle deposit-return and recycling schemes – basically trying to help reduce the use of polluting plastic in their daily lives.

However, the core of the problem lies in the business of virgin plastic production where the key corporations totally rely on, or even represent major oil and gas companies. Unfortunately, these guys are not keen to reduce plastic production at all because that’s what makes both theirs and their shareholders deep pockets happy.

Shale gas and fracking is creating a plastics renaissance in the U.S.

Read the full article…

October 2nd, 2018

A 20,000-cow Dairy Farm in Europe? No way!

by David Sánchez

Noviercas is a small village of 158 inhabitants in Northeast Spain. It is located in the province of Soria, inside a region known as the “Spanish Siberia” because of the low population density, less than 8 people per square kilometer.

This village became famous when the co-op Valle del Odieta announced last year their intentions to build a 20,000-cow factory farm in the village. It would be the biggest dairy farm in Europe and the project immediately became controversial for all the potential impacts it could bring to the area and to the farming sector.

Farmers are leading the opposition, as they estimate this factory farm would destroy 700 direct jobs, one third of the dairy farms in the region. It would produce around 368,000 tons of manure per year, the equivalent of the waste produced by a city of 4.4 million people. And the farm would consume between 4 and 6.35 million liters of water per day, more than the total consumption of the city of Soria (40,000 inhabitants). Impacts on the environment and local communities can be huge.

This farm has nothing to do with the European model of livestock farming. We have witnessed fierce resistance to previous dairy mega factory farms with 8,000 thousand cows in the UK or even actions of civil disobedience against a 1,000-cow farm in France.

We cannot allow this model, imported from the US, to come to Europe. Impacts of these huge factory farms are well documented and are reason enough to ask for a ban. Stopping this farm would be a really symbolic step against the invasion of factory farms in Europe to defend a sustainable and social model of farming.

You can read more about it here in English, Spanish and French.

We will campaign with our allies to stop this project. Stay tuned!

September 28th, 2018

Communities Are Standing up Against Gas and Fracking Across the Globe

From Nigeria to Sweden, Indonesia to Pennsylvania, our solidarity is international.

70 organizations from 6 continents already have come together to partner up for a global mobilisation against gas and fracking.

Actions are planned across North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceana. We’ve got a demo in Nigeria, a webinar series in Pennsylvania, an anti-fracking carnival in the UK, and much more.

This number is growing, and it’s not too late for you to join.
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We need to rapidly move away from fossil fuels and into a renewable energy system, but governments and banks are pumping money into the gas industry– the lifeline of the fossil fuel corporates.  Gas is sold as a clean alternative, but leaks huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas,  into our atmosphere. The overall effect is no better for our climate than oil and coal – it’s just another fossil fuel that keeps the status quo of fossil business over people the same. The climate crisis has no time for false solutions.
Read the full article…

September 19th, 2018

The Tiny Corner Of America Where Oil Titans Will Stash 2 Million Gallons Of Gas

US Politicians (including some Democrats) are pushing dangerous projects to prop up the plummeting profitability of natural gas fracking.

If these massive petrochemical, plastics, and pipeline investments are not stopped, people who live nearby will have the steepest price to pay — with their health and their environment.

The big secret is out — fracking hasn’t been as profitable as the industry thought it would be. Prices and profits have been crashing, so gas and oil companies have been racking their brains to find new ways to market fracked gas to get a return on their money. The industry’s clever answer to their financial troubles lies in plastics, because the petrochemical industry can make plastic out of the fracked gas.

The fracking and petrochemical industries have teamed up to dump tens of billions of dollars into the heart of the Appalachian region —  right where Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia meet. They are building pipelines and petrochemical and plastics manufacturing complexes, and a large underground storage facility. Our research team has released a damning issue brief that underscores the partnership between these polluting industries, elected officials, and regional universities to launch a massive petrochemical and pipeline boom.
Read the full article…

September 7th, 2018

A Global Movement Against Gas and Fracking Is Rising

See the rising up from the Gasdown Frackdown

Along with our partners, Food & Water Europe is part of a global movement against fossil fuel extraction and FOR a sustainable future.

This October we mobilized and targeting those behind the boom of fossil gas and fracking infrastructure:

  • industry
  • governments
  • petrochemical giants that make plastics out of fossil fuels; and
  • banks that finance all of this.

We call it the The Global Gasdown Frackdown Day of Action.

We are showing our governments and the fossil fuel industry that our  communities and our atmosphere cannot handle another generation of fossil fuel addiction – JOIN US!

Read the full article…

September 6th, 2018

Canadian & German Groups Team Up to Fight Germany’s Climate-hostile Fracked Gas LNG Terminals Game

by Andy Gheorghiu

In our “Fracking & LNG Ghosts of Gas Addicted Germany (Part I and II)“ blogs we’ve already highlighted the destructive and hyprocritical climate policy of Germany.

The country is a big supporter of the controversial and unneeded Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will pour another 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas into Central and Eastern Europe, finally locking the European Union into the Russian fossil addiction.

At the same time, the German government is also wasting €1.2 billion of taxpayers public money on the Southern Gas Corridor, the mega pipeline that the EU Commission subsidizes in the hope to be able to by-pass Russian gas-transit networks.

The German government is also providing a budget of €4.75 million for fracking research projects, welcomes propopals for the construction of the first LNG terminals in Germany, and wants to invest more public money in a fracked gas LNG terminal in Nova Scotia, Canada. German business market analysts have clearly highlighted the stranded assets related to these projects and have called them “foreseable investment ruins“.

According to the project report and financial analysis paper of Laurentian Bank Securities Equity Research, the company Pieridae Energy Limited is “On Track to Become Canada’s First Major LNG Exporter”.

Pieridae wants to build the LNG Goldboro terminal in Nova Scotia to export fracked shale gas from Canada (Alberta, British Colombia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Sable Island) and Pennsylvania (the Marcellus Shale). According to the Alberta Energy Regulator, gas production from shale (Duvernay Formation) is expected to continue to grow – particulary driven by the presence of wet gas (natural gas liquids) that have increasingly become the focus of the petrochemical industry that uses the fracked wet gas (i.e. ethane) component to produce plastics and petrochemicals. The American Chemistry Council has highlighted in April 2018 that major chemical investment is linked to shale gas, with 325 projects in the US alone cumulatively valued at $194 billlion in capital investment announced since 2010. Pennsylvania could indeed become the world’s new petrochemical hub.

It’s worth mentioning in this context that petrochemical giant Dow Chemical, a developer for fracking proppants, and Yara, the so-called “Exxons of agriculture“ are the foreseeable major buyers of LNG  in the cases of the proposed terminals at Stade and Brunsbüttel. This is again highlighting the growing hunger of the petrochemical industry for cheap fracked gas and it shows that these projects have nothing to do with the energy supply for German households.

Pieradae states that the two most obvious areas that provide readily available gas for the Goldboro facility are western Canada and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.The company has entered into a 20-year LNG sales agreement on a take-or-pay basis of 4.8 million metric tonnes per annum (6.7 bcm) with German Uniper, the company that’s a financial investor of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and is also involved in the Southern Gas Corridor project. Uniper’s partner Pieridae has qualified for US$3.1 billion under the United Loan Guarantee (Garantien für Ungebundene Finanzkredite or UFK) programme of the German government.

Confronted with the fact that Germany has a fracking moratorium for shale gas in place but nonethless intends to invest in importing fracked gas from the U.S. and Canada, the German government answered that a) fracked gas could help diversify the gas supply of Germany and Europe and b) Germany has issued only a “Letter of Interest” to financially support the project, but this doesn’t equal a proper loan yet.

But the fun factor doesn’t end here. Pieridae (which is trying to get the money together for this not only enviromentally but also economically very risky project) announced in August 2018 the appointment of the German state-owned KfW IPEX-Bankas an adviser in assisting it to finalize a multibillion USD untied loan guarantee from the German federal government under its UFK program (Garantien für ungebundene Finanzkredite).“ In July 2018, Pieridae apparently requested the German government increase the amount of the guarantee from the US$3.1 billion.

Initiated by Gastivists Berlin, German groups – together with Food & Water Europe – have now teamed up with Canadian activists and NGOs and have urged the German Federal Environmental and Energy Ministries in a joint open letter not to award Pieridae the financial guarantee it would need to succeed with its climate-hostile LNG Goldboro terminal. The letter highlights that several crucial points make clear that the financial guarantee is not in the interest of the economy, the climate or the environment, clearly stating that this investment not only undermines Germany’s intended role as an international pioneer in tackling the climate crisis but also has negative impacts for local communities in the affected regions in Canada and the U.S.

The Canadian Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRAC) and the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance have underlined the trans-atlantic joint demands by sending follow-up letters to the German government describing these concerns, and the big opposition in Canada against fracking and against this project in particular.

Together, we will join forces across the Atlantic to stop this madness. Collectively, we won’t allow the German government to greenwash itself with the claim that it has banned fracking while at the same time supporting fracking gas LNG projects that make no sense whatsoever with public money.

That’s not how we are rightfully expecting Germany to play the role of the climate hero it could be. We all know that 4th biggest world economy can and must do much better than that.

Links:

Open letter to German government (EN, DE, FR)

Letter from NOFRAC and Guysborough Communities Coalition

Letter from New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance

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Don’t forget to join the Global Day of Action (13th October) against fossil fuels, fracking, petrochemicals & plastics – Gas Down Frack Down Rise Up! Join the movement and sign up on

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