Scientists and climate activists have highlighed and warned against the significant global warming impact of fossil gas and an expansion of related infrastructure. Furthermore, analysts have also repeatedly criticized Europe’s deep dependency from Russia – created particular by Germany with the help of petrochemical giant BASF and it’s daughter Wintershall Dea. Putin’s war in Ukraine is forcing the EU now to profoundly restructure it’s energy landscape and to save gas for the coming winter. But while the public is being told to shower cold and heat less Europe is still feeding a fossil fuels hungry petrochemicals and plastics industry. Andy Gheorghiu outlines the major findings of a new report that reveals the significant dimension of this gluttony and that calls for a profound new diet for this sector.
Europe is doubling down on efforts to curtail plastics production and waste. There’s much other continents can replicate – and plenty of room for improvement.
Fossil gas has long been touted as being the cleanest of fossil fuels as well as a needed “bridge technology”. Plastics on the other hand have been hailed an integral part of modern society that might even deliver climate benefits due to their light weight. Andy Gheorghiu takes a closer look at the link between gas, climate and plastics and argues for an EU Methane Regulation that applies strict rules for both the fossil energy and the petrochemical sector.
Ineos who? That was more or less my response too when I first heard of Ineos. And yet in 2019 Ineos was once again among the global top 5 chemical companies (in terms of sales, which totalled €27 billion). Ineos is also the top European producer of ethylene, the basic feedstock in today’s petrochemical industry and an essential component in the production of plastic. Andy Gheorghiu reports
In May, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Environmental Action Germany (DUH), and Food and Water Europe organized online conferences entitled “Fracking, Plastics, Methane Emissions and the Gas Lobby” to better explain the connection between them and climate crisis. The first of the two drew upon startling new satellite data explained by globally renowned methane and fracking expert, Prof. Robert Howarth from Cornell University. In his presentation, he detailed how the ongoing fuel switch from coal to gas has likely worsened the overall climate. Other speakers, including two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), several environmental attorneys, and other fracking activists discussed continuing gas lobbying efforts to “greenwash” uninformed MEPs and the general public. Now available for streaming, the first webinar-debate provided a welcome space for an informed discussion around fossil gas policies, many of which ignore established science in favor of economic and political expediency—our L. Michael Buchsbaum reviews.
Published jointly by Break Free From Plastic, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and the German Association for the Environment and Nature (BUND), the new report portrays a startling window into the toxic deluge fouling our planet. In just 60 years over 8.3 billion tons of petroleum-based plastics have been produced worldwide – more than one ton per person living on earth today. But only 10% has been recycled. As new production rates are accelerated by cheap fracked gas, the only solution is to drastically reduce our dependency. Buchsbaum reviews the Atlas’ findings.
Under pressure from Trump, just weeks ahead of the European Parliamentary elections, the EU Commission signed a long-term agreement locking in at least 20-years of imported fracked Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) shipments. Despite hundreds of international environmental groups warning this will torpedo the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords and retard plans to decarbonize Europe, EU President Juncker and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič are hailing the deal as part of the continent’s on-going clean energy transition. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look.
Multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, over 400 million voters Europeans from 28 member states are poised to elect a new Parliament and European Commission President. Given its lead position on climate and energy issues, and under pressure to accept more American fracked fossil gas, their decision will have global ramifications. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look.
The plastics industry has reaped massive hidden benefits from the environmentally destructive fracking boom. Andy Gheorghiu of Food and Water Europe makes a connection business interests and US politics.