In stark contrast with EU’s climate commitments, the European Parliament greenlighted the fourth list of Projects of Common Interest, which includes 55 fossil gas infrastructure projects. Pipelines in Southeast and Eastern Europe and LNG terminals in Ireland and Croatia will have priority access to environmental impact assessments, permitting procedures and financing.
“The decisions we make in 2020 must be aligned with our long-term goals. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2040, the EU must phase out all fossil fuels. While gas is often claimed to be a transition fuel, it is a polluting energy source that undermines EU’s climate commitments, hence no fossil gas project should get the PCI status. The rules on which these projects are selected must be revised,” said the EU Gas Coordinator of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Esther Bollendorff.
The EU should focus on promoting the further development of renewable energy and energy efficiency and only support projects that promote these clean alternatives. The rules regarding what kind of projects can get on a PCI list must be reassessed and aligned with the EU’s climate and energy ambition and avoid contradictions with the Commission’s own long-term Green Deal.
A complete phase-out of fossil gas by 2035 should have started today, but this vote proves that the European Parliament is not acting in line with the earlier declared climate emergency, nor the Paris Agreement or the decision by EU leaders to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Giving priority and money to these gas projects means cementing Europe's future in a gas lock-in over the next 40-50 years and wasting up to €29billion (1), EU taxpayers’ money, in stranded assets.
“This only underlines the gap between what we need to do and what we’re actually doing to prevent dangerous levels of climate change. The EU must phase out all fossil fuels and achieve a fully renewable energy supply as soon as possible,” added Esther Bollendorff.
Nicolas Derobert, Head of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 483 62 18 88
Notes to editors:
(2) The European Parliament voted on the 12th of February with 443 for and 169 against the 4th PCI list. Projects selected as PCIs can automatically benefit from several advantages, including an accelerated permit granting and improved regulatory treatment. Likewise, PCI status is a precondition for grants under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), though it does not guarantee the award of such a grant. Every two years, the EU draws a list of PCIs.
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.