Greenpeace reports: Gas industry pushing US and Europe into hazardous LNG contracts

Campaigning organisation Greenpeace has warned that gas companies are driving government policies that lock the US and Europe into hazardous new liquefied gas (LNG) commitments.

Illustration only / Archive / Courtesy of Golden Pass LNG

In its latest investigation report “Who profits from war – How gas corporations capitalise from war in Ukraine,” Greenpeace said that public investments into private operators, such as Fluxys in Belgium, show the scale of the US and Europe’s betrayal of global climate targets while affecting the health of neighbouring communities living near production sites in the US.

It reported that in 2022, the EU has become the biggest importer of LNG from the US, and energy companies across the EU and US are doubling down on LNG investments, noting that the short-term energy supply crisis has been answered by a long-term response in building out new infrastructure that impacts the environment and local communities in the US and EU and negotiating abiding contracts.

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Greenpeace claimed that if the EU LNG terminals under construction or proposed would start production, it would potentially result in a whopping 950 million tonnes of CO2-eq per year associated with these terminals, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 211 million cars. This would seriously jeopardise the energy transition needed to achieve agreed climate goals, the organisation warned.

The report also highlighted the substantial health and safety impacts the LNG expansion has on communities. Greenpeace said: “European countries have banned methods like fracking at home, yet encourage these methods in the US to satiate its energy demand. The extraction and transporting of toxic LNG in Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana has resulted in worsening air quality, contaminated water, respiratory diseases, birth issues, and elevated cancer rates in these communities, many of which are predominantly Black, Brown, Indigenous, and have low incomes.”

The organisation called for the immediate end of US and European development of gas contracts and infrastructures. More specifically, it called on the following:

  • to make the gas reduction targets at the EU and national level mandatory, implementing measures to protect vulnerable communities and increasing public investments in renewable energy, efficiency, and renovation schemes;
  • to ban all new gas projects development and new gas drilling, with the goal to phase out fossil gas without delay by 2035 at the latest (EU target);
  • to phase out all new permanent LNG terminals and ban all new projects and extensions across all EU countries and the US;
  • to ban all long-term gas contracts;
  • to stop approving new infrastructure projects and new shipments;
  • to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies;
  • end the preferential treatment of the fossil fuel interest and address conflict of interest in climate and energy policies;

Anusha Narayanan, Greenpeace US global project lead to stop fossil fuel expansion, said: “The gas industry, producers and operators, have used the Russian/Ukraine war to spin US and European policy priorities away from climate goals with tales about energy security.”

“US and European leaders should not be deceived. Citizens voted for transformative climate action. Governments must lead in the climate fight, not be puppeteered by gas operators who sacrifice the health and safety of communities simply to boost their profits.”

“Our investigation exposes the truth behind the corporate and political push for more fossil gas imports from the US to European countries; the bottom line is that fossil gas only profits the industry; it is dirty, toxic, not needed, and not wanted.”

John Beard, a community advocate living next to the US export terminal Sabine Pass LNG, a terminal under construction Golden Pass LNG, and the Port Arthur LNG project (all in a 10 km radius), said: “These LNG projects will result in a massive increase of CO2 emissions. This would lead to disastrous consequences for the planet and for people. There is no such thing as ‘freedom’ gas. It comes with a cost. That cost is the lives and health of people in the Gulf South and deadly climate consequences worldwide.”

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