EU Commission backs new fossil gas projects

, SEE Energy News

The European Commission will tomorrow propose plans to subsidise new fossil gas pipelines, terminals and storage facilities which could import gas that would emit more carbon than Austria and Denmark combined, according to our analysis.

Projects including the EastMed pipeline between Israel and Greece and the Baltic Pipe carrying Norwegian gas to Denmark and Poland feature on the Commission’s fifth “Projects of Common Interest” list, making them eligible for EU funds and fast-tracked permits.[1]

Of the many gas projects the Commission has proposed, six would import gas from new sources that could emit over 87 million tonnes of climate-wrecking carbon dioxide each year. This is more than Austria and Denmark’s combined carbon dioxide emissions in 2020.

Tara Connolly, senior gas campaigner at Global Witness said:

The EU talks a good game on climate leadership at COP26, but it continues to subsidise fossil fuel projects back home. This is beyond hypocrisy, it shows a fundamental unwillingness to confront the fossil fuel interests that are causing the climate emergency.

“We are on track for a catastrophic level of global heating that would make the planet uninhabitable for billions of people – ending public support for fossil fuel projects should be the absolute bare minimum for climate policy.”

Speaking ahead of the COP26 climate summit, European Commission President von der Leyen said: “We… …need sufficient commitments to really cut the emissions this decade. Science is very clear on that. Science tells us that it is urgent.

Over 100 civil society organisations from across Europe have called for fossil gas projects to be removed from the list.

The news comes after we revealed how ENTSOG, the EU body responsible for gas infrastructure planning, is refusing to disclose whether it has a conflict-of-interest policy, amid concerns about overlaps in its memberships and boardroom with a fossil gas industry lobby group.

Barnaby Pace, Senior Gas Campaigner at Global Witness said:

The potential for a conflict of interest could not be more obvious, but the gas regulator ENTSOG is refusing to disclose the meetings it’s had with the gas lobby, or even say whether it has a conflicts of interest policy. 

“This absurd state of affairs has gone hand in hand with over €4bn in subsidies being handed out to fossil gas projects which are fuelling the climate crisis. The fossil gas industry needs to be kicked out of political decision-making for good.”