Uniting Against Fossil Capitalism: Highlights from the People’s Summit in Vienna


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From March 22nd to 24th, activists and campaigners from across Europe and beyond converged in Vienna for the People’s Summit. This year’s gathering was marked by ad significant victory: The organizers of the notorious European Gas Conference, a meeting of the planet’s most egregious polluters, were forced to postpone their event indefinitely due to fears of activist actions and disruptions.

The People’s Summit brought together an inspiring group of activists, campaigners, and concerned citizens, all committed to tackling the existential threat posed by fossil gas. Food & Water Action Europe joined the summit and hosted a series of sessions. Over the course of three days, attendees engaged in a packed agenda, delving into critical topics such as the expansion of liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure and the proliferation of fossil gas projects all over the world, or the promotion of false solutions such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen by the fossil fuel industry. Moreover, the conference shed light on the interconnected nature of the fight against fossil capitalism, emphasizing its connections to the rise of extreme right movements, (neo-)colonialism, social injustices, militarization, and the ongoing conflict in Palestine.

The summit also aimed to expose Europe’s complicity in the global proliferation of fossil fuel infrastructure. In a bid to fortify international solidarity, the conference welcomed delegations from the United States, Canada, and Africa. These frontline community voices brought to light the deep-seated injustices perpetuated by fossil capitalism, reminding us that behind the statistics and every additional percentage of fossil fuel imports lies a human story of suffering.. The participants from British Columbia, Texas and the Niger Delta provided a stark reminder that the struggle isn’t just a choice—it’s a question of life or death. Solidarity, as they demonstrated, goes beyond mere rhetoric—it is about amplifying marginalized voices, understanding their struggles, and coming together to get ready to fight back. 

Undoubtedly, the journey towards phasing out fossil fuels and dismantling the prevailing fossil system remains arduous.

Yet, as Chloe Torres from Texas Campaign for the Environment poignantly reminded us, “We lose only when we stop trying, we only lose when we stop being unapologetic in our demands for a world free of unnecessary suffering and that for me is the world that I want to work towards“. 

Chloe’s sentiments echo a fundamental truth: The path to a sustainable and just future lies in collective action. By building bridges and joining forces, we have the capacity to overcome the fossil system, prioritizing the well-being of people and the planet over profit: a future where clean water, air, and land are accessible to all.

LNG Threat Map

Check out the digital version of our LNG Threat Map!

Front side: European LNG terminals, build-out plans and threat categories

Back side: European (and a small selection of international) groups opposing the LNG build-out

Liquefied ‘Natural’ Gas (LNG) is fossil gas, cooled down to -162 degrees Celsius to turn it into a liquid. This reduces its volume by a factor of about 600, making it easier to load LNG on ships and transport it across the ocean. About 42% of the gas consumed in Europe in 2023 arrived in the form of LNG, the biggest part of it was fracked US LNG. Along the entire supply chain, LNG leads to high emissions, making it a hazardous climate threat that rivals even coal in its climate impact. On top of environmental damage, LNG has severe impacts on communities both in supply countries as well as many import countries.

Find here a non-exhaustive list of groups opposing the LNG build-out in Europe and beyond, including links to their websites.

2023 EU LNG Terminal Utilization Rates Were Below 60%


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LNG moved to the spotlight in January 2024, with an important announcement by US President Joe Biden to halt all new permitting for US LNG export facilities. This ‘pause’ will give the government time to work on criteria for an assessment of this infrastructure concerning public interest, human rights and climate implications of these fossil fuel assets.

While this is a great step in the right direction, the halt is only temporary, and a host of other LNG expansion projects in the US which already have obtained permits can move ahead.

As usual, the fossil fuel industry was quick to cry ‘foul’ over the Biden administration’s plans. They claimed the announcement went too far and will create  energy security concerns. There are several arguments to refute this claim.

The most important point that big polluters want to sweep under the carpet is that fossil gas is on its way out. EU gas demand dropped by 12% compared to the 2019-21 average in 2022, and by 19% in 2023. Crucial climate and energy policies in Europe suggest a reduction of gas demand by up to 52% by 2030.

The gas demand drop needs to be made permanent and deepened further for Europe to have a chance to abide by its own climate targets and to respond to the deepening climate crisis.

Despite the drop in gas demand and the planned expansion of US export facilities, it is clear  the current import infrastructure in Europe is largely underutilized. Our analysis of data from the Aggregated LNG System Inventory (alsi.gie) suggests that in 2023, EU LNG terminals were used on average under 60% of their full capacity

Only four LNG terminals across the EU had average utilization over 80% (by terminals in Porto Levante – Italy, Swinoujscie – Poland, Rotterdam – The Netherlands and Krk – Croatia) in 2023, while ten terminals were used well under 60%, sometimes at only 19% (terminals in Barcelona – Spain/Catalonia and Lubmin – Germany).

The lowest country-wide LNG utilization rate can be observed in Greece and Finland (both 36% utilization rate) followed by Spain (42%). It needs to be noted that one terminal in Spain – El Musel LNG which started operations in 2023 – didn’t report any data despite having imported some shipments already. It was not included in the country’s average calculation.

In addition to the El Musel and Inkoo terminals , there are another six large scale LNG import terminals which came online since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Most of those are located in Germany (Brunsbüttel, Wilhelmshaven, Lubmin) with the country planning to build even more terminals, fueling significant protests. On top of that, average utilization in Germany stood at only 50%.

Additionally, in early February 2024, EU gas storage was still at a very high level and well above 60% on average. Energy experts suggest that even with a full cut of Russian gas and a cold winter, gas storage would still be filled at over 20% at the end of March when winter ends.

LNG infrastructure expansion on both sides of the Atlantic is not only a dangerous climate bomb – it is economically nonsensical, risking a situation in which consumers are burdened with costs for stranded assets of an unneeded oversized fossil gas grid.

Biden’s Administration Temporary Halt on New LNG Exports – An Important Step, yet the Fight Continues on Both Sides of the Atlantic


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There is absolutely nothing natural about fracked gas, it is just a marketing term to make it seem like what I’m using here isn’t gonna impact me”,          Elida Castillo, Program Director Chispa Texas (Brussels, Oct. 12, 2023) 

In an important step for people and the planet, the Biden Administration announced last week its decision to temporarily pause pending decisions on exports of Liquified ‘Natural’ Gas (LNG). Biden’s gas export decision suspends projects like the construction of the Calcasieu Pass 2 (or CP2) in Louisiana, whose residents already experience the worst toxic pollution of any people across the U.S. 

CP2 is a $10 billion behemoth slated to become one of the largest LNG export terminals in the world. LNG facilities are a direct threat to public health in nearby communities, and drive demand for fracking, a destructive drilling technique tied to dramatic rise in climate-warming methane emissions. 

While Biden’s announcement marks a step forward, it does not impact LNG export projects that are already operating or permitted. The fossil fuel industry has already locked in massive infrastructure expansion: U.S. LNG exports have grown exponentially in the past years, and five LNG export projects currently under construction will double U.S. export capacity by 2027. This is why an immediate and permanent rejection of all proposed LNG exports and infrastructure is vital. It is imperative to send a strong message to the fossil fuel industry that this isn’t just a pause, but rather a firm commitment that there is no future in LNG and fossil gas.

 The fight will not be over until all LNG projects are definitively stopped. LNG expansion only serves the interests of the fossil fuel industry and shackles us to a deadly fossil-fueled future. Only a swift, just and participatory transition to 100% renewable energy gives us a chance to avoid climate catastrophe. As the EU elections approach, it is vital for the EU institutions to put the phase out of fossil fuels at the top of their agenda. This must be coupled with investments in energy efficiency and energy savings, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

As we applaud this win, we must recognize the tireless efforts of activists and frontline communities who have long been sounding the alarm on the devastating impacts of LNG and fracking. In solidarity with overseas fights, EU environmental organizations are supporting calls to stop new LNG investments on both sides of the Atlantic, which will risk creating stranded assets in the coming years. Especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, LNG expansion projects mushroomed in the EU, U.S. and elsewhere in the world. In 2022 the EU became the primary destination for the U.S. LNG shipments, and the bloc is still betting big on LNG to replace the millions of tonnes of fossil gas previously imported from Russia via pipeline. 

Photo stunt outside the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, January 29th

As highlighted in a letter sent by 60 MEPs from across the EU before the Biden Administration decision and reiterated in an joint NGOs open-letter, the expansion of LNG cannot be justified as a necessity for energy security, and Europe cannot be used as an excuse for LNG expansion in the U.S.

While the U.S. decision is indeed a reason to celebrate, it serves as a poignant reminder that the fight for a sustainable, just and oppression free future is far from over. It demonstrates that together we can kick fossil fuels out of our lives – in the EU, U.S., and around the world.

Civil society organizations in Europe ask Biden Administration to halt LNG facility build out


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Today, Food & Water Action Europe, sent a message to US President Joe Biden and Secretary Jennifer Granholm together with over 40 civil society organization from across Europe.

We made clear that we oppose the build out of climate-wrecking US LNG export terminals which poison communities in the US and harm our environment and the planet.

You can find the letter here.

Beyond Gas Conference 2023

Connecting the struggles from East to West 

11th of January 2024 / Paola Matova, Food & Water Action Europe 

Who, what & why?

The urgency to foster connections among gas fighters was the main objective of the conference, aligning with the broader goal of ensuring both social equity and climate justice. Through the three days, participants actively engaged in an exchange of knowledge and information, creating crucial connections to collectively counter the persistent push for fossil gas. The conference served as a platform for taking stock of the progress made by the BGN, strategizing around next steps, and delving into the multifaceted regional perspectives and dynamics inherent in the fight against fossil fuels.

The BGC 2023 not only tackled current issues but also opened dialogues on future obstacles. Participants raised their concerns regarding potential investments in new fossil projects, the credibility of questionable solutions such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS), the political trajectory of the European Union in the pre-election period, and more extensive global societal challenges. Essentially, the dynamics discussed at the conference reflected a worldwide movement dedicated to dismantling the prevailing fossil fuel paradigm within the context of a capitalist economic system that sustains substantial inequalities.


In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Union (EU) has shown support for various fossil gas projects through the REPowerEU Plan. Despite having sufficient fossil gas import capacity, the EU is rushing to build additional Liquefied ‘Natural’ Gas (LNG) terminals and pipelines as part of a strategy to reduce reliance on Russian gas. The plan proposes utilizing the European public budget.

The EU’s focus on increasing LNG imports aims to replace a significant portion of the EU’s gas imports that were previously sourced from Russia – a whopping 155 billion cubic meters of Russian fossil gas. This rush raises concerns about prioritizing fossil gas and hydrogen over renewable solutions and direct electrification, hindering efforts to address the ongoing climate crisis.

Simultaneously, fossil gas is a contentious issue and triggers deep-seated conflicts in other regions too, independent of the war in Ukraine. Israel has been promoted as a strategic partner in the context of European energy security, particularly within the framework of the RePowerEU initiative. Through a trilateral agreement involving the EU, Egypt, and Israel, the plan envisions Israel selling fossil gas – extracted from Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) – from its Leviathan and Tamar fields to the EU. This partnership has led to the construction of additional pipelines and the exploration of new offshore fossil gas concessions. 

The EU is highly dependent on fossil energy imports, especially as a primary destination for LNG exports. Consequently, Europe bears direct accountability for the adverse effects on indigenous/local communities, ecosystems, and the socio-political effects resulting from the expansion of fossil gas extraction.

Connecting the fights: International and regional 

BGC 2023 started with a spectrum line session – as we could not start talking about fossil gas without being on the same page and considering the different experiences, realities, perspectives, understandings, privileges and starting points of each and everyone in the room.

The Spectrum Lines revealed diverse perspectives within the group, with people from Germany expressing resonance with the EU narrative, people from Greece feeling closer to the Balkans and the Middle East region, and varying opinions on issues like discussing fossil gas without militarization. Additionally, it highlighted disparities in the connectivity of local movements, with some regions having strong connections and others – mainly Eastern European countries like Estonia/Latvia and Croatia –  acknowledging the limited size of the climate movement in this particular region.

Over the course of the next two days, local activists, researchers, and campaigners provided comprehensive updates and valuable insights from their respective campaigns. This allowed for a deep exploration of the implications for communities and the ongoing struggles faced by those at the forefront of the battle against major fossil fuel corporations. The discussions delved into the nuanced challenges, highlighting the direct impact on communities and the collective efforts required to confront and address the issues provoked by the fossil gas expansion. Most prominently, this was done in a panel discussion featuring delegation of women from the U.S. Gulf Coast alongside testimonies from Croatia and the Middle East.

Elida Castillo, representing Chispa Texas, shed light on the environmental injustices faced by marginalized communities, particularly Black and Hispanic populations, emphasizing the accountability of the fossil fuel industry, banks, and decision-makers. She told us how Chispa’s advocacy empowers communities through informed action, translating the impact of incidents for residents, and challenging the industry.

Elida reported how the Gulf Coast communities face imminent threat due to big expansion plans for fracked fossil gas infrastructure. One of the epicenters of this LNG expansion is her own town of Gregory, Texas, home to Corpus Christi LNG facility. Despite its small size, Gregory has borne the brunt of this dirty industry, including health impacts, contamination of food, air and water and safety threats.

In Corpus Christi, studies reveal alarming levels of pollutants, with residents facing significantly shorter life expectancies due to the cumulative impact of pollution. 

Chloe Torres, representing the Texas Campaign for the Environment, presented the impactful “Clean Slate” campaign, which confronts the profound health ramifications caused by the industry and exposes the redirection of public resources to wealthy corporations. 

Jenny Espino, also part of the Texas Campaign for the Environment, illuminated the intricate interplay of issues. She detailed the blatant environmental racism through deliberate infrastructural segregation and highlighted the stark health impacts visible in affected communities. She calls for comprehensive systemic change, challenging the status quo of both political parties and emphasized the inseparable links between environmental and social challenges.

Connecting these testimonies between the continents and therefore the fight in Europe, Maruska Mileta from Zelena Akcija (Friends of the Earth Croatia), shared the struggle surrounding the Krk anti LNG campaign in Croatia


Ermioni Frezouli from Gastivists Greece, representing the region together with Ya’ara Peretz and Myrto Skouroupathi, shared how experiences with the EastMed pipeline project highlights geopolitical tensions and conflicts, especially in regions like Cyprus and Greece andPalestine/Israel.

Efforts to raise awareness and oppose these projects face challenges, including a lack of climate movements and cultural protests. Strategies for outreach involve media actions, creative performances, social media campaigns, and direct engagement with communities, with an emphasis on the interconnectedness of environmental and social issues. However, obstacles persist, including difficulties in mobilizing people and the limited impact of health studies in legal proceedings. 

These international (U.S.) and regional fights among continents and in peripheral regions of Europe are interconnected through the shared supply chain of fossil gas, emphasizing the need for robust and region-specific climate justice movements.

The Action 

The majority of the participants of the conference, representing up to 19 countries, took part in a protest march in Prague. We targeted the headquarters of Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH) and Komerční banka. EPH, a major European fossil fuel entity owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Křetínský,   ranks among Europe’s top greenhouse gas emitters and is at the forefront of expansive gas infrastructure projects. The action sought to underscore the dire consequences of fossil gas extraction and combustion on the climate while specifically pointing out the role of EPH, with the focus on Komerční banka due to its longstanding financial support for EPH activities.

In the words of protest participant Klára Suková from Fridays for Future Czech Republic, “Clean fossil gas is a dirty lie. All fossil fuel extraction must end immediately. The first step is to end lending to fossil fuel companies.”


The conference session Opportunities ahead & activities within the movementheld by Collin Roche (Friends of the Earth Europe) and Gligor Radečić (CEE Bankwatch Network), outlined various  political opportunities and challenges facing the network. Emphasis was placed on the potential impact of fossil gas-related issues in local and EU elections, the integration of fossil gas into the 2040 climate targets communication, and diplomatic opportunities within the EU – U.S. Energy Council. Challenges included the threat of a shift to the far right post-elections, migration issues, and challenges related to environmental nationalism, colonialism, and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). 

  • Social opportunities involved exploring intersections with housing, militarism, and abolition, proposing support mechanisms for people in the green transition, and discussing legal tools and climate litigation. Challenges included NGOs not centering struggles around justice, concerns about the cost of living crisis, fuel poverty, and energy poverty, as well as challenges related to affordability, perceptions of alternatives, and the link between fossil gas and security.
  • Economic and financial opportunities included pointing out funds for renewable energy sources (RES) and the potential of the New Multiannual Financial Framework. Challenges encompassed ongoing funding for fossil gas, Hydrogen-ready infrastructure, CCS, private sector interest in funding gas, and issues with windfall taxes. 
  • Technological opportunities discussed smart grids and efficiency to support electrification, along with unlocking funds from fossil fuels for the energy transition. Challenges included concerns about hydrogen and CCS as false solutions, critical materials imports, technology optimism, and nuclear power/waste.

The People over Polluters Skill Share by Pascoe Sabido from Corporate Europe Observatory highlighted insights into the Fossil Free Politics campaign, the People Over Polluters Declaration, and tips on investigating lobbying activities. 

Within The Speed Knowledge Bazar, Pippo Taglieri from ReCommon focused on the Mediterranean perspective, discussing strong connections between the Italian multinationals ENI, SNAM, and Mediterranean countries, as well as projects in Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Cyprus related to LNG terminals and pipelines. 

Following this, day three – the last day of the conference – emphasized  connecting the dots for joint actions, including concrete action points, tactics, and financial considerations. Working groups and social media strategies were identified.

What’s next? As we reflect on the insights shared during this impactful conference, the conference was a resounding call to action and a reaffirmation of our collective commitment to fight gas. We stand united, interconnected, and resilient in our pursuit of environmental and social justice. We forge ahead, continuing to battle, organize, and amplify our voices. Keep fighting, for our planet, for justice and freedom for the oppressed, for a future beyond fossil gas. 

To join the Beyond Gas email list and find out more about the network, contact [email protected] 

Other relevant readings: 

  1. Beyond Gas Conference 2019
  2. Beyond Gas Conference 2021
  3. Beyond Gas Conference 2023 – blog post