The EU should phase out fossil gas

AirClim has published a new report analyzing the gas industry.

AirClim has published a new report (1) about the need to phase out the use of fossil gas as soon as possible in order to meet the climate targets agreed at the UN Paris Climate Conference in December 2015. 

Unfortunately the EU has not yet adopted the energy strategy that would enable it to fulfil this agreement. One example is that in February 2016 the European Commission continued to promote fossil gas and proposed its so-called “security of supply” package, which included a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Gas Storage Strategy and a proposal for the revision of the Gas Security of Supply (SoS) Regulation. These include legal proposals on security of gas supply, requiring member states to help their neighbours during severe crises, and on energy supply agreements between non-EU and EU countries, giving the Commission oversight powers.

The EU said in a press release that the Union needs more gas infrastructure and gas imports even if it meets its climate and clean energy goals, and that an expected expansion of around 50 per cent in LNG supply in the coming years presents a “major opportunity” for Europe to improve gas security and resilience.

Climate Action Network Europe said that “the main problem with the gas documents is that the EU does not factor in the positive impacts of energy savings and the further development of renewable energy sources on gas demand”. “The  gas package proposal fails to recognise that renewables and energy efficiency can secure Europe’s energy supply. It defies the commitments taken under the Paris climate agreement last December,” said CAN Europe.

Greenpeace EU said: “It’s like the Paris agreement never happened and the Commission is stuck on gas, dishing out a costly proposal that will keep Europe hooked on energy imports. It is high time Europe embraces the renewable energy transition. Only if it focuses on renewables and energy efficiency will Europe meet its climate targets and reduce its dependence on foreign energy supplies”.

One of the countries in Europe promoting the use of fossil gas is Norway, and its industry is planning to increase production of its own fossil fuels, including fossil gas. As one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world it intends to expand production in some of the riskiest and most environmentally sensitive areas. In January 2016, Norway issued 56 new licenses to allow 36 companies to explore areas around the Lofoten Islands, in the North Sea and Barents Sea.

Brussels Airport is a symbol for the strong lobbying of Norway and its industry to promote fossil gas use in Europe. Passengers arriving by plane at the airport are bombarded with slogans at the gangways advertising gas from Norway. Hopefully the days of such greenwashing are numbered.


Reinhold Pape

About the author: Fredrik Lundberg is an energy policy specialist in Sweden. He has worked for many years as a consultant and researcher for NGOs and government bodies. 

Phasing out fossil gas, By Fredrik Lundberg, Published in March 2016Link to the report:

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