Fossil Fuel Industry Steps Up Pressuring to Weaken Methane Rules


MethaneFossil Fuels

As the EU legislative process moves on, polluters push to undermine progress 

Brussels, May 5, 2023 – Ahead of the European Parliament’s plenary vote on the EU Methane Regulation due on May 9, climate activists are denouncing the fossil fuel industry’s fierce campaign to weaken proposed European Union rules addressing methane pollution.

The European Commission’s proposed regulations were watered down before a vote in December. Now the European Parliament prepares to cast votes, the polluters’ lobby has been working to make sure the rules remain weak.

Among the main players were Eurogas, an EU fossil gas association, which has repeatedly stressed the need to weaken key aspects such as provisions related to monitoring methane emissions, leak detection and repair (LDAR), and thresholds for venting. More information about lobbying activities on the EU methane file can be found on the Influence Map’s Methane Platform.

These attempts to weaken the text of the regulation are now in danger of once again being reflected in the amendments tabled by MEPs on the right side of the European Parliament ahead of the plenary vote. Additionally, a  recent article published by der Standard documented how the amendments presented by some Member States before the adoption of the EU Council position in December corresponded almost exactly to the demands formulated by large energy companies. 

Of particular concern are the measures related to cutting methane emissions associated with coal. On this point, the Polish coal industry succeeded in heavily diluting the methane legislative proposal. The joint report adopted by the European Parliament’s ITRE (Energy) / ENVI (Environment) committees on April 26 is weaker on coal than the European Commission’s initial proposal. 

As a result of lobbying activities by the Polish coal industry, the European Parliament is proposing to relax the Commission’s proposal allowing coal mines to release additional greenhouse gas emissions. Polish mining companies, owning several mines (some of which are not emitting methane), could easily comply with the regulation through accounting tricks rather than any actual methane reductions.

Enrico Donda, Gas Campaigner with Food & Water Action Europe, released the following statement:

“Corporate interests are working hard to undermine what could be real progress on reducing methane pollution. Although the committee vote was a step in the right direction, climate advocates are concerned about these coal rules, in addition to the fossil fuel industry’s lobbying to further weaken the text in the next legislative stages”. 


“The EU bloc is among the largest fossil fuel importers in the world. It is estimated that between 75-90% of the methane emissions caused by EU fossil fuel consumption occur outside our borders. So we cannot afford to implement feeble provisions and half-baked solutions. An ambitious final text – not one with the fossil fuel industry’s fingerprints all over it – is vital to give us a chance to limit near-term warming while focusing on the need to phase out fossil fuels”.  



Enrico Donda, Gas Campaigner, Food & Water Action Europe (FWAE) [email protected], +32 485 187 523


BRIEFING: Most LNG from United States to Europe Comes From Fracking, New Analysis Shows 



Brussels – 7 March: A new analysis of EU gas imports by Food & Water Action Europe and Gastivists finds that fracked US gas could represent as much as one eighth of all gas the EU consumed in 2022.  This LNG boom is locking Europe into fossil fuel dependency and sky high costs to pay hundreds of billions of Euros for gas imports and gas infrastructure.

The new briefingFracking – Coming to Your Doorstep,” points out that the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( EIA) found that 87% of the gas extracted in the US is fracked tight or shale gas.

The EU imported 55 billion cubic metres (bcm) of dirty US LNG in 2022. The top US LNG importers in the EU in 2022 were France with 15.6bcm, followed by Spain with 12.3bcm and The Netherlands with 10.9bcm. The top gas importers  relative to their national 2022 gas demand were Lithuania (US imports represent 135% of the national consumption) followed by Croatia (74%).

The looming climate crisis, the cost of living crisis and the weaponization of fossil fuels are all linked to fossil gas,” said Frida Kieninger, Director of EU Affairs at Food & Water Action Europe. “As energy poverty continues  to rise,  the EU is going all in on  deepening its dangerous, costly LNG dependency. Doubling  imports of fracked US gas, one of the most polluting fossil fuels, is a horrible decision that threatens our climate goals and creates more air and water pollution in communities that are suffering from the effects of fracking.”

Six of the 10 LNG importing countries analysed in the new report have moratoria or outright bans on the brutal method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used to extract oil and gas from the ground. Still, there is no restriction in any of these states on importing fracked fossil fuels, despite the outrageously high methane emissions and air and water pollution linked to them.

The abrupt policy shift towards fossil fuel imports appears to be far beyond what was imagined just months ago. US gas import volumes of 55 bcm show that the EU-US deal struck in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of  Ukraine, has been more than overshot: The EU imported more than three times as much US LNG as agreed in spring last year.

This greed for LNG, coupled with its considerable economic power, has turned the EU into a dangerous gas bully on the global LNG market. Plans for increasing EU import capacity in the next years amount to mind-boggling 195 billion cubic metres, with 50 bcm planned for 2023. In contrast, the entire global additional LNG supply for 2023 is expected to only amount to 20bcm.  This has already wreaked havoc on international markets; EU countries can offer more money for shipments than many other countries that are dependent on LNG, provoking blackouts in Pakistan and fears in poorer import countries that LNG suppliers will break their contracts to go for a higher bidder.

Instead of delivering billions to LNG polluters, advocates urge political leaders to  rapidly scale up renewables and energy efficiency. These  clean, cheap and proven solutions could  terminate Europe’s dirty, costly fossil dependency and provide a way out of the climate and energy crisis.


Contact: Frida Kieninger (English/German/French/Spanish) – [email protected], tel +32 028 93 1045, mobile +32 487 279 905

Ambition Wanted – MEPs To Adopt A Bold Position On The Methane Regulation


Fossil Fuels

Photo from the stunt. Photographer: Philip Reynaers

Brussels, February 27, 2023The European Parliament’s Committees on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) were expected to adopt on the 1st of March their position on the legislative proposal to regulate methane leaks and emissions in the energy sector. However, the work on the legislative file slowed down and the joint committee vote was postponed to a later date in March. This will be followed up by a discussion and vote in the European Parliament’s Plenary. The EU Parliament needs to act without further delay and it can’t risk starting trilogue negotiations with an unacceptably weak position, facing an even weaker Council’s position

Methane, the main component of fossil gas, is a climate-wrecking and severely underestimated greenhouse gas with more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. According to the latest  International Energy Agency (IEA)’s figures, in 2022 global methane emissions from leaky fossil fuel operations were close to a record high of 135 million tonnes. To put things in context, the 2022 Nord Stream pipeline leaks in the Baltic Sea were only equivalent to no more than a couple of days of ‘regular’ methane emissions from the fossil industry. Science is clear that we can’t hope to limit global warming to 1.5°C, 2°C or any target if we don’t drastically cut methane emissions. 

The first-ever EU legislative proposal on methane emissions fails to include effective measures to regulate methane emissions from fossil fuel imports. The regulation envisages only a requirement on importers and EU operators to ‘communicate’ methane emissions data. 

The EU is a massive fossil fuels importer, and estimates show that carbon or methane emissions associated with imported gas consumption are three to eight times higher than methane emissions occurring within the EU. A regulation failing to include methane leaks along the whole supply chain, from extraction to distribution, means willingly ignoring a large majority of the methane emissions Europe is responsible for. 

Already in December, the EU Council adopted an extremely weak position on the regulation, which basically represents a handout to the fossil fuel industry. The joint ITRE and ENVI vote in March is a chance for the MEPs to vote for the well-being of the people and a livable future. This means adopting a bold position on cutting domestic and import-related methane emissions now and working towards a fossil fuel phase-out instead of worsening Europe’s dangerous fossil fuel dependency. 

The EU Methane Regulation needs strengthened domestic provisions on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), Leak, Detection and Repair (LDAR) and Limits on Routine Venting and Flaring (LRVF) for the fossil fuel sector and those measures must be extended to energy imports. A recent legal study shows this is possible. 

To move off Russian gas, Europe looks at Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from the U.S., Qatar or Nigeria as a remedy for lack of pipeline gas. LNG shipped to Europe from the U.S. is almost entirely produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a technique that releases high volumes of methane emissions into the atmosphere. The Methane Regulation must not end up being a diluted regulatory instrument, in stark contrast to the EU’s commitment to be a global leader in the fight against climate change.

Yet, even with the introduction of stringent reduction rules, methane emissions will remain a major issue. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 70% of current emissions from oil and fossil gas operations are technically feasible to prevent, but simply limiting methane emissions will not provide a definitive long-term solution. This is why any methane reduction legislation needs to be linked with a fossil fuel phase-out plan and a halt of fracked gas imports. Only an ambitious plan to cut methane emissions along with Member States, while working towards a fossil gas phase-out by 2035 is a plan that is compatible with Europe’s climate targets and with protecting a livable climate for future generations to come. 



Enrico Donda, Gas Campaigner, Food & Water Action Europe (FWAE) [email protected], +32 485 187 523 


“Full of red flags” — Real Zero Europe Campaigners Slam EU Carbon Removal Proposal


Over 170 civil society organisations, led by coalition campaign Real Zero Europe, have slammed the European Commission’s leaked proposal for EU carbon removal, stating it is “full of red flags.”

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Brussels, November 28, 2022 – The criticism comes just days ahead of the Commission’s expected legislative proposal for a new Carbon Removals Certification Framework, which outlines the EU’s plans for approving new carbon removal (CDR) offsets in Europe. It also follows backlash at COP27 where EU officials were accused of CDR “accounting tricks.”

The proposal has sounded alarms among climate justice and environment campaigners, food and farm movements, development and faith-based groups, and experts across Europe and beyond. Over 170 organisations have signed Real Zero Europe’s statement, calling for the EU to “deliver real, deep, emissions cuts now,” instead of generating false confidence in unproven future CDR. They argue the proposal will delay real action and cause governments to miss the rapidly-closing window to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees of warming by locking in fossil fuels for decades to come.

Earlier this month the EU faced criticism at the COP27 climate talks for “accounting tricks,” using updated land-based CDR estimates to claim that the bloc had raised its emissions reduction target since COP26.

The proposal promotes fossil-prolonging technofixes such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS), and a controversial initiative called “carbon farming.” Campaigners say there is a very real danger that the EU is shifting the focus away from the essential work of phasing out fossil fuels, instead heading towards speculative technologies and impermanent land sequestration.

After COP27 — where the presence of lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry reached a new peak, watering down the conference’s outcomes — campaigners have warned that fossil fuel companies and big agriculture have had a significantly harmful influence on the Commission’s proposal.

Lucy Cadena, coordinator of the Real Zero Europe campaign, said:

“This proposal raises red flags for climate, environmental, and farming communities in Europe and beyond. The EU is betting big on unproven removals as part of its strategy to reach ‘net zero’ – but the stakes are way too high. Every ton of future promised carbon removals represents a delay in emissions cuts today, bringing us deeper into climate chaos. COP27 revealed the corporate greenwash of ‘net zero,’ with a fossil fuel phaseout omitted from the final outcome. Now, we are bringing this fight home – we cannot let historical polluters like the EU off the hook. We are demanding a Real Zero approach to climate action, and deep, sustained cuts to carbon emissions in the next short months and years.”

Jean Mathieu Thévenot, a farmer and member of European Coordination Via Campesina, said:

“Carbon farming is a risky project that is completely unrealistic for farmers and will have no effect in the fight against climate change. It is based on an unfair compensation model that relies on the good will of corporations, which seek only to greenwash their image without changing their polluting practices. The European Union must immediately put in place policies for real emissions reductions, and promote a just transition for all farmers towards agroecology.”

A full quotes sheet from the Real Zero Europe campaign is available here.

Press contact:

For further comments and information and to be connected to one of our spokespeople, please contact Lucy Hall, Press Officer at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO): [email protected] / +44 7908 481895, or Rossella Recupero, Communications Associate at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL): [email protected]

Notes to editors:

  • The Real Zero Europe statement is still gathering signatures. The statement and full list of signatories will be available on Monday 28 November at (list of signatories available to view in advance on request)

  • Real Zero Europe is the initiative of a coalition of civil society organisations aiming to expose the corporate greenwash of ‘net zero’ in Europe, resist false solutions, and push for real solutions, real emissions reductions, and Real Zero in Europe.

  • A report entitled ”Carbon Farming: How big corporations are driving the EU’s carbon removals agenda” by the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (IATP), will be published on Monday 28 November at (available to view in advance on request)

  • A report entitled “”Carbon capture from biomass and waste incineration: Hype versus reality” by Biofuelwatch, will be published on Monday 28 November at (available to view in advance on request)

  • At COP27 commissioner Frans Timmermans announced that the EU would cut GHG emissions by 57% (instead of the previously promised 55%) by 2030, although closer inspection revealed that there would be no change to the actual amount of emissions reduced and the 2% ‘extra’ came from revised removals figures.

  • A leaked draft of the Commission’s proposal seen by the Real Zero Europe campaign made alarmingly little reference to fossil fuels or a fossil fuel phase-out, echoing concerns voiced at COP27.

  • A recent report that combined all governments’ climate pledges calculated the amount of land required to fulfil the total planned climate effort to be 1.2 billion hectares, roughly equal to the world’s entire food-producing base. Such an over-reliance on land-intensive removals is exemplified in the Commission’s proposal, which would introduce “carbon farming” to Europe – a scheme to incentivise agricultural and forestry practices that sequester carbon in land sinks.

The proposal also signals more support for speculative engineered removals, such as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) and Direct Air Carbon Capture and Storage (DACCS). However, these technologies – dubbed “fossil prolonging technologies” by campaigners – have never proven to work at scale, are prohibitively costly, polluting, and pose risks to biodiversity, food sovereignty, and human rights.

An empty methane declaration will not help to phase out fossil fuels


Fossil Fuels

  • The pledge has no legally binding effects, and it introduces nothing new to the current EU commitments in the Methane Regulation Proposal – under discussion at the European Parliament and Council level. 
  • The EU needs to regulate oil and gas imports to tackle methane emissions

Brussels-Sharm-el-Sheikh, 11 November 2022 – Today the EU and U.S. presented at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) a joint declaration to reduce greenhouse gases, particularly methane emissions, from the main oil and fossil gas importing and exporting countries. The declaration, presented a year after the official launch of the Global Methane Pledge during the COP26 in Glasgow, introduces nothing new to current commitments from the US and the EU while diverting focus from what they should do to tackle methane emissions: to regulate oil and gas imports.

While the intention looks laudable on paper, the declaration is a toothless tool in practice. It aims to build a coalition of major global fossil fuels importers and exporters so as to support domestic actions to cut methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions along the fossil energy value chain through robust measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification initiatives. However, the text has no legally binding effects, and doesn’t bring anything new. In particular, the EU is not taking any further commitments beyond what is already included in the Methane Regulation Proposal, which is under discussion at the European Parliament and Council. 

As the EU is among the world’s largest importers of fossil fuels, it needs to be an ambitious global standard-setter and implement stringent measures to cut methane emissions from energy imports. Between 75-90% of the methane emissions caused by the EU fossil fuel consumption occur in the supply chain. This joint declaration cannot be an excuse to refrain from effectively addressing those emissions in the Methane Regulation.  

The findings of a new legal report commissioned by CAN Europe show that it is legally possible to extend the scope of the Methane Regulation to operators outside the EU that export fossil fuels entering the EU market. This means applying the EU domestic provisions on Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV), Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) and Limits on Routine Venting and Flaring (LRVF) to all energy imports, and requiring importers to only source oil and gas from countries and companies meeting those standards. Instead of creating more lock-in scenarios, especially in more vulnerable countries, the EU needs to use its buying power to move exporters to adopt standards on methane emissions, which are still unregulated in large parts of the world. 

Against the current attempts of some Member States in the Council to water down the Methane Regulation proposal, the European Parliament must include strong measures on energy imports to incentivize changes also at the international level. Vague international commitments or voluntary private sector solutions are insufficient given that methane emissions are still rising and heat up the climate over 80 times faster than CO2 over 20 years. 

The non-binding declaration is not ambitious enough to effectively cut methane emissions from the fossil fuels supply chain and slow down the climate catastrophe in the short term. In the long term, the only answer to the climate crisis is to phase out fossil fuels including fossil gas by 2035 and embark on a transition to 100% renewable energy. The way that some countries and the EU exploit the ongoing COP27 by pitching fossil gas and hydrogen as a transition fuel is completely out of step with reality and science. If this new initiative ends up legitimizing and prolonging future fossil fuel consumption it will have done the climate more harm than good. 


Enrico Donda, Gas Campaigner, Food & Water Action Europe (FWAE), [email protected], +32 485 187 523 

Julian Schwartzkopff, Senior Expert, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, [email protected], +49 30 2400867-963  

Doruntina Basha, Communications Coordinator, CAN Europe, [email protected]

Nina Tramullas, Interim Head of Communications, CAN Europe, [email protected], +34 676 030 140 (in Sharm-el-Sheikh)

LNG: The U.S. and EU’s Deal for Disaster


Fossil Fuels

Brussels, 26 October 2022 –  Fossil gas exports would equal climate pollution from 100 coal plants.

A new analysis from Food & Water Action Europe finds that the plan to greatly expand liquified natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States would create a yearly increase in climate pollution equivalent to the emissions from about 100 coal plants.

The analysis – published in the fact sheet ‘LNG: The U.S. and EU’s Deal for Disaster’ – evaluates the consequences of the Biden White House goal of supplying an extra 50 billion cubic meters (BCM) of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) annually until at least 2030.

LNG is mostly methane, a harmful super-pollutant. Food & Water Action Europe finds that the full lifecycle emissions of reaching this 50 BCM goal would create 400 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent annually, which is roughly equivalent to 100 coal plants.

In addition to increasing long-term reliance on dirty energy sources, this scheme will be incredibly expensive. As global LNG prices have skyrocketed in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 50 BCM of LNG could cost €19.6 billion in the short term; through 2025, that total could be over €64 billion. This is an astonishing price to pay for fuel that represents only about 12 percent of overall EU gas demand.

Clean energy solutions would provide cost savings without creating massive new sources of climate pollution. The Food & Water Action Europe report finds that for the same price of 50 BCM of LNG, utility scale solar could provide over 540 million megawatt hours (MWh), 11 percent more than the LNG that would be supplied could generate.

Europe’s fossil gas industry, cemented throughout the past decades, is not the cure for the energy crisis we are in – it is the cause,” said Frida Kieninger, the Director of EU Affairs at Food & Water Action Europe. “Decision makers have been pushed by the fossil gas industry to rush a massive expansion of European infrastructure that simply moves our dependence to other suppliers of dirty fossil fuels. The poison cannot be the remedy. Renewables have saved Europeans billions, and a massive investment in clean energy will tackle energy poverty and prevent us from pouring even more money into the polluting system that got us into this crisis.


Enrico Donda, [email protected]