On Wednesday, MEPs will vote to decide whether or not to adopt a list of ‘Projects of Commons Interest’ — known as the PCI-list.
If adopted these infrastructure projects will likely receive public funding and support from EU institutions. People-powered protests have erupted around the proposal because it includes 55 new fossil gas projects, breaches EU laws, is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement, and undermines the EU’s declaration of Climate Emergency.
“Fossil gas is destroying the climate and the livelihoods of communities impacted by exploration and production processes. But instead of phasing out fossil gas as soon as possible, governments and European institutions, including public banks, are planning to invest billions into new gas infrastructure. We are part of a global movement of anti-gas activists that does not accept this anymore and, if necessary, together we will fight to oppose every single of these destructive fossil projects,” said Katja George, activist with Gastivists Berlin.
On Friday activists from 350.org, Extinction Rebellion, and the Gastivists gathered outside the European Parliament office in Berlin to oppose the proposed PCI-list and fossil gas production – if the list is adopted some countries, like Germany, could use the decision to justify massive fossil gas expansion.
People have also taken to Twitter demanding that MEPs, particularly those behind the EU’s declaration of Climate Emergency, vote to halt new fossil gas projects in Europe and close this loophole allowing public money from the European Investment Bank to finance climate chaos. Actor Mark Ruffalo, a vocal opponent of fracking, has also spoken out against the proposal because it includes a swathe of new LNG terminals that would ultimately lead to an increase in imports of US fracked gas into Europe.
The fossil gas lobby is doing its best to convince politicians and financiers that their industry represents a ‘bridging fuel’ and a solution to the climate crisis, but this is a false argument that stems from corporate self-interest. Expanding fossil gas infrastructure stands in striking contrast to EUs requirements to cut climate pollution to at least 40% by 2030. Activists will continue to oppose plans for expansion and hold decision-makers to account.
“If approved by MEPs on Wednesday, this decision could unleash €24 billion in finance for climate-wrecking pipelines and €1.7 billion for new LNG terminals, which eclipses the €7.5 billion of new resources due to be raised to tackle the climate crisis through the EU’s plans for a ‘Green Deal’. If this list is accepted, these projects will be eligible to receive funding from public financial institutions like the European Investment Bank, a bank that announced just three months ago that it will stop supporting fossil fuels by the end of 2021. If the European Parliament adopts this PCI list, it will be pure hypocrisy, plain and simple,” said Clémence Dubois, campaigner at 350.org.
The EU must increase its efforts to tackle the climate crisis and deliver justice to impacted communities by keeping fossil fuels in the ground, not lock the continent into decades of increased climate pollution – pipelines and LNG plants have a 40-year lifecycle. There is no time to lose: already in 2020 the planet has experienced the warmest January since records began, along with a swathe of devastating climate impacts from the deadly flooding in Indonesia, to the devastating bushfires in Australia, and locust swarms plaguing East Africa.