Breaking the grip of gas in Europe: the fight is on

Photo: Kalle Lantz

Photo: Kalle Lantz

 

As coal becomes increasingly unprofitable and unpopular, the fossil fuel lobby has been working hard to embed gas into European energy policy – bringing with it a proliferation of gas fields, fracking sites, networks of huge pipelines, pipeline terminals and ports.

Communities across Europe are affected by these projects – their livelihoods, local landscapes and health are at risk. Major gas infrastructure is often imposed from above by a handful of powerful companies, with little regard for local democratic processes.

Here are some of the key struggles, where communities are being deeply affected by gas works or proposals, and where people are organising to break the grip of the gas industry on our energy system.

 

— Trans Adriatic Pipeline, Italy

In the beautiful rural town of Melendugno, the Italian government gave the go-ahead for company behind the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) to start uprooting centuries-old olive groves to make way for a pipeline terminal that would receive gas into Europe from Azerbaijan.

Against the will of the community, and without permits, the start of these works has outraged local people and politicians, and the #noTAP movement is growing fast across Italy. Every day, many hundreds of local people are gathering at the site to peacefully resist the construction and to protect the precious olive groves that form the bedrock of the local economy. Through blockades, barricades, and sheer numbers, they have managed to suspend the works, and are calling for a complete stop to the pipeline: “No TAP: not here, not anywhere”.

The campaign is very active on social media – follow #NoTAP on Twitter, and @PresidioNoTAP on facebook for updates (in Italian).

Photo: Alessandra Tommasi

Photo: Alessandra Tommasi

 

— Fracking, the UK

In the UK, fracking is hugely unpopular, but the government wants to force it on communities anyway. In Lancashire – one of the places the government wants to frack – the local community have been resisting the industry for 6 years, but now fracking company Cuadrilla are trying to roll in their equipment. The locals are organising actions at the proposed site everyday – slow-walking in front of trucks supplying the sites, blockading companies supplying Cuadrilla, and more.

And recently national network Reclaim the Power organised a brilliant Break the Chain fortnight of creative direct action, aiming to amplify these local efforts and take on all companies propping up the fracking industry. Actions included targeting fracking site suppliers, major investors, PR companies and more – with interventions using creative blockading, brandalism and street theatre.

Photo: Kristian Buus

Photo: Kristian Buus

 

— Fossil gas imports, Sweden

In Gothenburg, Sweden, people are exposing plans for a new terminal to import gas into Sweden. They are pointing out to Sweden’s Environment Minister and local politicians in Gothenburg that a new fossil fuel project has no place in Sweden’s plans to go fossil free. And they’re countering the myths spun by the fossil fuel lobby that gas is a good transition fuel. See the beautiful photos from their recent launch.

Photo: Kalle Lantz

Photo: Kalle Lantz

 

— Groningen gas fields, the Netherlands

In Groningen,  a giant gas field has been causing heavy earthquakes and severe damage to peoples’ homes. Thousands of people have been demonstrating and calling for an end to the gas production.

Watch the video:

Over 5000 people rise up against gas in Groningen, NetherlandsPeople power is on the rise to keep Europe’s gas in the ground.

 

— MidCAT pipeline, Spain

In Catalonia, people are preparing to resist the second phase of MidCAT gas pipeline, which plans to import Algerian gas into Spain and France (read more in the Environmental Justice atlas). #NoMidCAT

 



Each of these struggles are battles for environmental justice at a global level too
— we cannot meet the Paris Agreement, and keep the climate under the 1.5°C, whilst building new fossil fuel projects.

To break the grip of gas across Europe, we will need to support these local fights, as well as tackling the misinformation of the fossil fuel lobby, and the finance systems that are propping up the gas industry.

Let’s get organised to keep gas in the ground.
#KeepItInTheGround

 

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