The gas package was never enough to tackle Europe’s energy needs. It never was appropriate and is even less so now. It needs to be fully overhauled and rid of all fossil fuel conflict of interest.
Europe is locked into a deep dependence on fossil gas, and fossil fuels in general - generated by a deep entrenchment between the fossil fuel industry and decision makers. The fossil fuel industry enjoys priority access to EU and national decision makers, further strengthened through regular cases of revolving doors between polluters and politicians.
This situation has blocked, delayed and weakened the urgently needed transition to renewables and energy efficiency. Now more than ever, Europeans feel that fossil gas is not only a dirty fossil fuel but a path into energy poverty and a commodity that can be weaponized. Draft legislations like the Gas Directive and the Gas Regulation further foster the fossil fuel industries’ place at the core of deciding on our energy future, making a swift, fair transition out of fossil fuels impossible.
This needs to change
Indeed, replacing Russian gas with more and more LNG is just as little a solution as replacing fossil gas one-for-one with “alternative gases”, called renewable and “decarbonised” gases. This is, however, the direction the new gas market rules risk to take, aggravated by an inherent conflict of interest.
A gas package captured by the fossil fuel industry
The proposed new rules that include the gas directive and gas regulation are riddled with examples of the influence of the industry. For instance, they would confirm the role, structure and tasks of the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-G), a body made of the fossil gas transport industry which has repeatedly overestimated gas demand and supported the build out of dozens of fossil gas projects across Europe.
Additionally, it would use this conflict of interest ridden body as a blueprint for the creation of 2 new umbrella structures:
This proposal is problematic: it fails to hand the tasks of estimating EU gas demand and need for gas infrastructure, as well as the planning of the hydrogen and fossil gas network to an independent, science based body or even to establish oversight by such a body. It also fails to implement an independent and transparent process to shape and create accountability, and misses the opportunity to start a planned procedure to decrease the European gas market.
A missed opportunity
The proposed rules fall short of the need not only to decrease EU’s Russian gas dependence but also Europe’s dependence on all fossil gas that risks being weaponized and become increasingly volatile. By welcoming vested interests at its heart, the package also falls short of setting the scene for the efficient, fair planning of a decreasing gas market that serves Europeans. Instead it gives free reign to the fossil fuel industry to protect its climate-wrecking business model.
Planning for a real climate-proof gas market in the mid-term equals planning the fossil fuel industry’s obsolescence.
We need to get the fossil gas industry off its comfortable position and we need an energy market free from fossil fuel interests, with independent oversight, a maximum of transparency and public participation that prepares itself for a rapid decrease in size, towards a phase out of all fossil fuels. In order to achieve this we need a firewall between the fossil fuel industry and decision makers.
This is why we ask for: