To start with: gas is a fossil fuel. Gas extraction methods and its release into the atmosphere have a myriad of consequences on local communities’ livelihoods and the global climate.

Oil & gas companies want to tell you the story that gas is a transition fuel, the cleanest of the fossil fuels that we can use to back up renewables whilst we make the transition to 100% clean energy.

However, as you could have guessed, they don’t tell the full story.

Global Gas Lock-in

Over the last couple of decades, the impacts of fossil fuels on our climate have become clearer and clearer. Ignoring or denying has become almost impossible. Therefore, Big Fossil has invented a new strategy to continue business as usual: sell gas (or as they call it: “natural gas”) as a “bridge fuel”: the so-called “cleanest” fossil fuel that will support us to make the transition to 100% renewables.

Because, when gas is burnt, it emits less CO2 than, say, coal or oil. However, when looking at the impacts of gas (and more specifically methane, its main component) throughout its entire supply chain (from extraction to consumption) it might not be as clean as portrayed. Recent scientific research has shown that over a period of 10 to 20 years after its emission into the atmosphere, methane has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 86 to 105 the CO2’s. This is one of the reasons why gas stinks.

Further, gas demand in Europe has been going down since 2010, and current infrastructure in the EU (both LNG terminals and pipelines) is being used at only a fraction of its capacity.

Besides, as what has already become clear through the case of the Castor project in Catalunya (a gas storage facility put in hibernation right after construction), the risk exists of these gas infrastructures becoming stranded assets, with the public sector and the tax payer ending up paying for it.

After construction of an LNG terminal or pipeline, we would be locked in for another couple of decades of this fossil fuel. Meaning: more environmental damage and risks, human health and safety risks, earthquakes in extraction areas, conflicts and repression, European support to corrupt and undemocratic regimes, etc. to build infrastructures that transports a fossil fuel which – if we don’t cut methane emissions now – will prevent us from staying below the internationally established goal of 1,5 to 2°C, and thus break scientifically established thresholds that we mustn’t pass if we want to prevent runaway climate change.

We believe this is a very, very, very bad idea.

For more info: read the reports of the conference held September 2016 and 2017 to discuss the topic of Fossil fuel lock-in: why gas is a false solution, and Global Gas Lock-in: linking North-South resistance, with the presence of various climate and energy activists from different parts of the world.

On the following pages you can find:

  • Resources on the science of methane (and how we have made major miscalculations in the past);
  • Background resources on the Global Gas Lock-in (geopolitics, mega infrastructure projects, extractivism and European politics around gas);
  • Maps that inform about gas infrastructure, gas export/import, and conflicts;
  • Lots of more background resources on gas, on organizing, and how to order free hard copies for your activities.

Animation and text by Kevin Buckland, Sound and video editing by Lucia Armino, Music by Supergood. También en Español.

No-TAP protests, South Italy
No-TAP protests, South Italy
Pipes for Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
Pipes for Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
Fracking in Argentina, Vaca Muerta.
Fracking in Argentina, Vaca Muerta.
LNG Carrier in Norway (Image: Liquid Freeze, Torbein Rønning / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
LNG Carrier in Norway (Image: Liquid Freeze, Torbein Rønning / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)