Resistance mounts as Europe locks itself into fossil fuel future: New map shows

Resistance mounts as Europe locks itself into fossil fuel future: New map shows

A new online map developed by Observatori del Deute en la Globalització (ODG), Gastivists Collective, and researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona uncovers plans to grow a massive web of gas infrastructure in Europe, and the mounting resistance and conflicts resulting from its development.  By showing where resistance is happening not just regionally but also around the world in places where Europe-destined gas is being exploited and exported, the map reveals widespread social conflict related to Europe’s huge investments into a fossil fuel-dependent future, even while touting policies centred on sustainability and renewables.

To access the interactive map, click here.

According to Kevin Buckland from Gastivists, “This map shows a clear gap in European climate policy. If the EU has any intentions of meeting its Paris Agreements it needs to take into account the massive Global Warming Potential of “natural gas”. Gas is, afterall, mostly methane – which is both a fossil fuel and a greenhouse gas, and has no part in a transition to renewable energy. The EU, with these more than 77 publicly funded infrastructure projects will lock Europe in to another 30 years of climate pollution.”

Despite widespread opposition shown in the map, many of the planned gas projects are being funded with public money as EU Common Interest Projects, while in export countries the social impacts of gas exploitation documented include displacement, fracking-related earthquakes, and deaths connected to gas plant accidents and repression against protestors.

According to Kevin, “This map is important because 42% of global gas imports come to Europe. As such, Europe cannot distance itself from the fracking frenzy occurring across the globe. This is just the next phase of colonialism and resource exploitation from the South to the North, masked with a thin veneer of marketing claiming to be a “transition fuel”

Developed by ODG & Gastivists with funding and support from the ICTA-based ACKnowl-EJ project (Activist-Academic Co-Production of Knowledge for Environmental Justice), The Global Gas Lock-in shows existing and foreseen gas infrastructure in Europe, mainly Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) ports and pipelines, and highlights conflicts from around the world regarding natural gas exploration, exploitation, and export.

According to ODG, “The large majority of Europe’s energy use today still depends on fossil fuels, mainly from oil, gas and coal. While the climate effects of oil and coal are well known, gas is still considered as a “transition fuel” and a “bridge to renewables”. But the climate effects of gas are even worse than oil and coal in the short term, and environment and communities are badly affected where gas is exploited.”

“The European Union’s political shift away from its dependency on Russian’ natural gas represents a massive transformation of the European energy grid. The EU is a at a crossroads – with the decision to leave behind centralized extractivist economies in favor of sustainable, renewable and decentralized energy structures or to “lock-in” the next generation of fossil fuel infrastructure. This map looks at sites of popular resistance in the context of this new planned infrastructure.

Along with this map, which forms part of a series of featured maps on the Environmental Justice Atlas, researchers from ODG have also simultaneously launched a written report with the same title, as well as a print map, funded by Rosa Luxembourg Foundation. The book, available now in Spanish and soon in English, is available for download, and hard copies can also be requested. There is downloadable printed map version here

Join ODG for the launch of the maps and report tonight, October 5th, at 19h in the Sala d’Actas in LaFede in Barcelona, followed by snacks at 21h at LaBase Ateneu Cooperatiu and a photography exhibition on the MIDCAT pipeline showing its impacts from Martorell to Hostalric.