March 25, 2022

Laurie van der Burg, (based in Brussels)
Collin Rees, (based in United States)

Oil Change International: New energy security task force must not expand fossil gas production or lead to investments in long-lived infrastructure

Today, U.S. President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new task force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Details remain unclear, but the announcement included commitments to increase U.S. exports of liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe and to decrease Europe’s demand for natural gas.

While the statement discusses efforts to reduce fossil fuel dependence through accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies, it also reveals that the EU and United States plan to expand LNG infrastructure in Europe: “The European Commission will work with the governments of EU Member States to accelerate their regulatory procedures to review and determine approvals for LNG import infrastructure.”

The announcement comes on the heels of recent research showing such new LNG import infrastructure is not needed. It shows clean energy can replace the large majority of Russian fossil gas imports to Europe by 2025, and that constructing new LNG import or export infrastructure is unnecessary to help Europe transition away from Russian imports.

In response, experts at Oil Change International released the following statements:

Laurie van der Burg, Global Public Finance Co-Manager at Oil Change International, said:

“Reducing dependence on fossil fuels, whether from Russia, the United States or other parts of the world, is a critical part of the solution to our current crises. In the midst of a fossil-fueled war, climate crisis and gas price spike, new investments in long-lived gas infrastructure will only exacerbate economic volatility, conflict and climate chaos. Analysis shows investments in energy efficiency and clean energy can get the EU off Russian gas, without a need for investments in new gas import infrastructure.

“In Glasgow, 39 countries and institutions committed to end public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022 and instead prioritize clean energy finance. Countries also committed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. Rather than backsliding and committing new public finance to unnecessary and polluting projects, the only effective response to the current moment is accelerating this agenda and doubling down on public finance and subsidies for the energy efficiency and renewable solutions that can significantly reduce gas use in the short-term.”

Collin Rees, United States Program Manager at Oil Change International, said:

“Today’s announcement was lacking in detail, but the facts are clear: New LNG infrastructure is a death sentence for the planet. It would take years to build and would operate for decades, far beyond a timeline compatible with meeting climate goals. Ending the fossil fuel era as quickly as possible is the only path to achieve true energy security.

“Europe doesn’t need more LNG import capacity — it can meet immediate needs with existing infrastructure and shift rapidly to reduce gas demand and ramp up clean energy. Boosting LNG exports from the U.S. would serve only to tether Western economies to a volatile commodity that’s driving conflict, killing the planet, and harming communities.

“Biden and von der Leyen’s commitment to secure additional EU demand for U.S. LNG ‘consistent with our shared net-zero goals’ offers a clear test. No amount of LNG expansion is consistent with net-zero. The U.S. and EU must reject any temptation to lock in deadly new gas infrastructure that would further destabilize our economies and imperil our climate goals.”


Note to Editors:

  • The Joint Statement between the United States and the European Commission can be accessed here, and a fact sheet can be found here.

One Comment

  • Please don’t get taken in by oil and gas! We can be doubly effective for our countries and our planet by moving as quickly as possible toward renewable energy using wind, solar and geothermal energy. Please, please , please do this NOW for the sake of all living creatures!

Comments are closed.