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Spanish Climate Law: Another Nail in the Coffin for Fracking in Europe

Spanish Climate Law: Another Nail in the Coffin for Fracking in Europe

By David Sánchez and Frida Kieninger

Fracking is not finding a home in Europe. The latest country to reject this dangerous fossil fuel drilling technique is Spain. The new law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, approved by the Spanish Congress and the Senate in late April, is set to get the final green light from the Congress soon. This legislation includes a ban on fracking and guarantees that no new hydrocarbon extraction projects will be authorized.

The ban on fracking is a clear victory for the Spanish movements, and marks a new landmark victory at the European level. The ban is part of a new Climate Change and Energy Transition law, which has some flaws; it lacks clear ambition and includes proposals aligned with fossil gas industry demands, which is why it has been criticised by Spanish environmental organisations like Amigos de la Tierra or Ecologistas en Acción.

Nonetheless, with this fracking ban Spain joins countries like Scotland, Germany, France and Bulgaria, as well as several other European regions that have banned this technique. Ireland has also imposed a ban on fracking, and is moving ahead with a ban on imported fracked gas.

That move is key. The EU is still the world’s biggest gas importer and it is still building and planning expensive and unnecessary gas infrastructure. While these fracking bans should serve as a model to follow across the Atlantic, the struggle to end the fossil fuels era continues in Europe.

Spain needs to ban imports of fracked gas

Within the EU, Spain is the country with the highest number of import terminals to import liquefied fossil gas (LNG), and it also uses them to import more fracked gas: In 2020, over a quarter of all US LNG that entered Europe, was supplied to Spain.

This needs to stop. With allies all across Europe and beyond, Food & Water Action Europe demanded a ban on fracked gas imports due to high methane emissions.

Stopping fossil gas means banning fracking, but also stopping it from entering through the back door. While the reputation of gas, particularly fracked gas, has suffered greatly thanks to the work of climate organizations and grassroots groups all over Europe, the gas industry is pushing a new ‘hydrogen hype’ to greenwash this fossil fuel and keep Europe hooked on fossil gas and costly pipelines or terminals.

The fracking ban in Spain is a reason to celebrate, but we’ve still got a lot to fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground!