Media reaction: 10 November 2021
Environmental lawyers criticise the EU’s support for gas infrastructure
The European Commission is about to commit to backing a significant amount of gas mega-projects. Leaked today, the draft of the fifth edition of the “projects of common interest” (PCI) list shows that the EU will lend support to gas projects like the vast EastMed pipeline. Projects featured on the list gain fast-track permitting privileges and the opportunity to receive EU funding.
ClientEarth energy lawyer Guillermo Ramo said: “The Commission said last week at COP26 that it would ‘spare no effort to become the first climate-neutral continent’. Yet it’s just about to fast-track and fund new gas infrastructure across the EU. The timing could hardly have been more ironic.
“A PCI list that includes gas projects does not square with the EU’s legal obligations under the Paris Agreement and the Treaties of the Union.
“These new gas projects are stranded assets in the making and supporting them is a waste of taxpayers’ money to be borne by citizens -- at a time when gas consumers are already feeling the crunch.
“The whole process of approving these so-called “projects of common interest” needs to be overhauled. The gas industry holds enormous sway in the process and there is little to no transparency.”
The list will be presented to the ITRE committee of the European Parliament tomorrow.
Notes to editors:
- Globally, the UN Environment Programme and other energy experts have found that countries’ planned extraction of gas is more than double that required under median pathways for 1.5C.
- The IEA’s net zero by 2050 analysis says that no new gas or other fossil fuel developments should be approved if we are to meet the Paris Agreement goals.
- In less than a decade, €440 million of EU public funding has been spent on gas projects which have either failed or been put on hold – a huge sunk cost to be borne by EU taxpayers.
- Read ClientEarth’s briefing on the need to improve decision-making under the TEN-E Regulation, the regulation that governs the preparation and adoption of PCI lists.
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