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]

Environmental groups challenge EU support for 30 fossil gas projects


Fossil Fuels

ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth Europe, Food & Water Action Europe and CEE Bankwatch Network are starting legal action to end support to 30 EU-backed proposed gas projects. They say the EU Commission has given these climate-destructive projects VIP status, in contradiction of its legal obligations.

  • Four environmental groups are starting legal action against the EU’s gas infrastructure priority list.
  • The organisations deem the inclusion of 30 proposed gas projects on the list unlawful and say the EU Commission breached its own climate and energy laws when approving the list. 
  • The cost of all the gas projects amounts to €13 billion. Their collective CO2 and methane output have not been calculated by the Commission or project owners but can be expected to be sky-high.

Every other year, the EU Commission draws up a list of priority energy infrastructure projects deemed beneficial to the whole bloc. Infrastructure on the “Projects of Common Interest” list gain fast-tracked permits and eligibility for EU funds.

Billions of euros are bound to be wasted on 30 major pieces of gas infrastructure like the EastMed pipeline – a €7 billion, 1,900km gas pipeline that will connect Eastern Mediterranean offshore gas fields from Israel and Cyprus to Italy via Greece.

The groups have been able to commence legal action through a request for internal review – a mechanism now open for use by NGOs and the public after a major reform of EU access to justice laws last year.

The four organisations request the EU Commission to review the decision that approved the PCI list and gave 30 proposed gas projects priority status. If the Commission refuses to amend its decision, the organisations will be able to ask the Court of Justice of the EU to rule.

ClientEarth lawyer Guillermo Ramo said: “This list amounts to a VIP pass for fossil gas in Europe, when we should be talking about its phase-out. The Commission did not consider the impact of methane emissions derived from gas infrastructure projects – in spite of evidence that these are substantial. That’s unlawful as it directly clashes with the EU’s own climate laws and its legal obligations under the Paris Agreement.”

Methane is the main component of fossil gas, with a global warming potential over 85 times higher than that of CO2 over 20 years. Yet, its impact when planning gas infrastructure is not taken into account. 

The environmental organisations argue the EU’s decision to support gas infrastructure puts the EU’s climate and energy goals under threat. Experts have clearly said no new gas or other fossil fuel developments should be built if we are to limit warming within 1.5C. The list also comes as Europe faces a gas price crisis, caused in part by over-reliance on price-volatile gas.

Despite this, the EU Commission’s REPowerEU strategy plans to unleash another €10 billion in new fossil gas infrastructure.

Some studies point out that the EU can end imports of all Russian fossil gas by 2025 – two years earlier than the European Commission’s current target of 2027 – without building new gas infrastructure or delaying the phase-out of coal.

Natasa Ioannou, climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth Cyprus said: “The EastMed pipeline is a disaster for communities and the climate. It is not in the interests of local people in the region who will bear the costs of fossil fuel lock-in, and the harm to the ecologically-sensitive Mediterranean Sea. All along the route of the EastMed pipeline people are saying no to new fossil fuel infrastructure and yes to climate justice and to peace. EU funding must focus on supporting projects that implement just, fair, safe, and renewable energy solutions.”

The European Commission now has up to 22 weeks to reply. The end result could be a judgement clarifying how the EU should take the climate impacts of infrastructure into account.

Notes to editors

What is the Projects of Common Interest list?

In November 2021, the EU Commission published a list of priority energy infrastructure – as it does every two years – which includes 30 fossil gas infrastructure projects. This list entered into force in April 2022.

  • These projects can receive streamlined environmental impact assessment, a fast-tracked permitting procedure and are eligible for EU funding.
  • They are aimed at facilitating gas transport, storage or import. They include pipelines and LNG terminals such as the EastMed pipeline, the Melita Transgas pipeline, the Cyprus LNG import terminal, the Baltic Pipe, the Poseidon pipeline, etc.
  • The cost of all gas projects on the list is estimated at €13 billion. But this doesn’t include the cost on nature, human health and climate.

The list is governed by the Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) Regulation which was revised recently. Despite initial intentions to get rid of fossil fuel projects in TEN-E, the EU Council and Parliament have proposed loopholes that would still leave considerable room for gas projects on future editions of the priority list. The process of establishing the list has been repeatedly criticised for lack of transparency and for being heavily influenced by vested fossil gas industry interests.

What is the legal procedure used in this case?

ClientEarth has fought a decade-long battle to improve access to justice rights at EU level. In 2021, a landmark reform of EU access to justice laws was approved. This has lifted the main barriers preventing NGOs and people from challenging environmental wrongdoings in court.

Environmental NGOs now have the right to ask EU institutions and bodies – in this case the European Commission – to review one of their own decisions for contravening EU law related to the environment. The Commission must officially reply to such a request within 16 weeks, a deadline that can be extended up to 22 weeks. If the claimants find that the Commission’s reply does not fix the legal violation, the claimants can sue the Commission in the Court of Justice of the European Union.

What are the climate impacts of gas and methane?

Gas extraction and transportation not only emits huge amounts of CO2, it is also a big emitter of potent and poisonous greenhouse gas methane. The drilling and extraction of gas from wells and its transit through pipelines results in emissions of methane – its primary component, which is a whopping 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in storing heat over 20 years. Beyond climate, methane also has devastating impacts on human health – via air pollution – and ecosystems.

Both the IEA and the IPCC have clearly said no new oil and gas extraction projects  should be built if we are to keep warming within 1.5C. Additionally, a recent study found that nearly half of existing fossil fuel production sites need to be shut down early if 1.5C is to be achieved.