“Keep It In the Ground” activists apparently don’t want to see our European allies enjoy a safe and reliable supply of energy.
Food & Water Watch Europe (FWWE) recently sent an open letter to the European Commission and U.S. Department of Energy requesting a halt to U.S. liquefied natural gas exports to the European Union. This demand comes despite a March European Commission press release declaring:
“The increasing gas production in the U.S. and the start of U.S. liquefied natural gas exports to the EU in 2016 have improved the security of gas supply in Europe and globally.”
In its quest “to eliminate our continuing reliance on fossil fuels,” the Rockefeller-backed FWWE would rather see Europe remain dependent on unreliable supplies of energy to heat their homes and cook their food – supplies that can and have been shut off on the whims of political leaders – instead of the affordable and abundant supplies that LNG provides. As FWWE letter recipient and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently said,
“American LNG has the ability to truly make Europe free from that Russian intervention.”
FWWE is the same group that petitioned to have the European Parliament revoke ExxonMobil’s lobbying badges on claims the company promoted climate denial. This follow-up act to a failed 2017 petition involved a hearing on “Climate Change Denial,” which generated a renewed push to revoke the company’s badges. The European Parliament again rejected FWWE’s demands, with the parliament’s secretary general ruling there were “no grounds to seek authorization to withdraw or deactivate ExxonMobil’s access badges.”
In its most recent stunt, the group is pushing its KIITG agenda to “to phaseout [natural gas] within the next 10 to 30 years” based on scientifically unfounded claims and in contrast to the reality of the EU’s growing energy needs.
FWWE’s push to eliminate LNG is out of touch with energy needs.
Europe faces a growing demand for natural gas at the same time that its production is declining. This has resulted in the EU importing roughly 70 percent of the gas it consumes, with the International Energy Agency estimating that the “EU will have to seek additional imports by 2025 to cover up to one-third of its anticipated consumption.”
“Russia has long been the dominant source and supplier of natural gas to Europe’s mass market but the U.S. is looking to challenge Russia by stepping up its (exports) of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) — gas which is super-cooled to liquid form — making it easier and safer to store and transport.”
U.S. LNG imports to Europe grew 181 percent from July 2018 to March 2019, resulting in the United States becoming the EU’s third largest supplier, according to the European Commission’s March press release. The European share of U.S. LNG exports has grown to 12 percent since the first shipment in April 2016.
FWWE’s claims of “harmful LNG” are unsupported by science or facts.
In its letter, FWWE makes a multitude of unfounded claims about “fracked LNG” and its potential impacts, going so far as to call fracking a human rights violation. The reality is far different:
The United States is leading the world in carbon emissions reductions.
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were at their lowest levels since 1992 in 2017, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s April Greenhouse Gas Inventory. As International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol recently stated,
“In the last 10 years, the emissions reductions in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy – almost 800 million tons – and this is a huge decline of emissions.”
Further, the inventory showed that methane emissions in the United States continue to decline as oil and natural gas production has steadily increased.
In fact, a recent EID analysis took a closer look at the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data and found that not only are overall methane emissions falling in the world’s largest oil and third largest natural gas producing regions – the Permian and Appalachian basins – but emissions per unit of production are also declining significantly. The basins saw 57 percent and 82 percent reductions in methane emissions intensity from 2011 to 2017.
Study after study confirms fracking is not a major threat to groundwater.
More than two dozen studies and expert assessments dispel the oft-repeated KIITG claim that fracking is a major threat to groundwater. In fact, a 2018 Penn State study that analyzed more than 11,000 groundwater samples in one of the most heavily developed counties in the Marcellus Shale found that water quality had actually improved since the shale renaissance began.
Fracking has not been shown to negatively impact health.
Activists have attempted to blame fracking for just about every health ailment a person could suffer. As a 2018 assessment by environmental think tank Resources for the Future explains, the vast majority of this research makes these claims without actually assessing if there are pathways to exposure.
Numerous regulatory agencies and studies have found that fracking has not been a threat to public health. For instance, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment analyzed more than 10,000 air samples in the areas of the state where “substantial” oil and natural gas operations occurred, finding that emission levels were “safe,” even for sensitive populations.
And in direct contradiction to FWWE’s claims, the shale revolution has been credited with saving more than 11,000 deaths annually because of the affordable cost of natural gas and is helping rural communities to have better access to healthcare.
The U.S. shale revolution, an abundance of U.S. oil and natural gas, and the increased capacity for U.S. LNG exports are having global impacts – just not the ones described by Food and Water Watch Europe in its recent letter. As Secretary Perry recently said:
“Next year America will become a net exporter of energy, and we want the world to know that we stand with them to deliver affordable, abundant energy across the globe. World energy security is national security.”