22.09.22 / Climate Inaction / Campaign Updates

Joint NGO statement condemning Norway/EU climate inaction from Ukrainian, Norwegian and international organizations

We, the undersigned groups and organizations, are calling on EU and Norway governments to stop subsidizing the oil and gas industry and stop public funding for fake climate solutions, like сarbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. We are shocked that in a draft agreement that the Norwegian government sent to the EU before the upcoming UN climate conference COP27, a priority has been placed on further development of the oil and gas industry and use of CCS.

European countries are still failing to systematically address overdependence of their economies on oil and gas, which not only creates vulnerabilities to be exploited by petro-dictators and autocrats like Putin, but also shows shameful turnaround away from decarbonization targets in the world that is tilting towards a climate catastrophe.

New investments in the exploration of fossil fuels and associated infrastructure will throw back the EU from a green transition pathway. Norway is pushing for oil and gas expansion in vulnerable Arctic marine ecosystems, where majority state-controlled Equinor is already seeking approval for the world’s northernmost oil field (Wisting) in the Barents Sea. Arctic petroleum extraction is something the EU and Franz Timmermans specifically have previously said they will not countenance. By endorsing further exploration, the EU is encouraging the lock-in of fossil fuels for decades to come - recklessly gambling against the targets of the Paris Agreement and its own climate targets. 

In different parts of the world, CCS technology, which is proposed as a climate solution, is used to boost oil production through enhanced oil recovery – using CO2 to squeeze out more fossil fuels from the ground and seabed. CCS is also promoted as a solution for supply of so-called ‘blue’ hydrogen produced from fossil gas. Blue hydrogen has very high life-cycle emissions and is very different from ‘green’ hydrogen produced using renewables.

The Norwegian oil and gas industry is claiming that they need public money to capture and store the dangerous CO2, while also planning to produce more oil and gas from increasingly vulnerable marine environments, which will create more carbon emissions.

Investing scarce public funds to massively subsidize fossil fuel infrastructure and CCS again would be regrettable examples of poor decision-making and ineffective risk management, which can make the EU's and Norway’s efforts to address the climate crisis inadequate.

Instead, both Norway and EU must commit strategically to curbing fossil fuel usage and start bending the climate change trajectory and allocate financial resources to renewables and energy efficiency, at least tripling clean energy investments in line with IRENA conclusions. It may be our last chance to get on the path of rapid decarbonization and keep the 1.5-degree climate target alive. This requires ambition and coordinated action to push the world past peak oil and gas demand. If we fail to do that, according to the EU's own research, climate change impacts will cause massive and irreparable damage, and could wipe out the economic value of 178 trillion Euros in the next 50 years.

Today, because of the deadly effects of fossil fuel production and use, we face the threat of unimaginable destruction from climate change. Climate experts agree that the only way we can reach the targets set in the Paris Agreement is to halt any expansion of fossil fuel production. Exploring for new oil and gas deposits to replace Russian fossil fuels, especially in the Arctic, will be disastrous. Investing public money in false solutions like CCS would be a dire mistake. We need to accelerate the green transition to renewables and end our addiction to the fossil fuels that are destroying our planet.

It is imperative that the EU will not simply replace Russian-produced fossil fuels with fossil fuels from other countries, including Norway, but start real decarbonization. Together with the priority of boycotting Russian oil and gas, fossil fuel expansion must be immediately halted globally, and European nations must commit to lead on the rapid and just transition away from all fossil fuels towards renewables. 

QUOTES:

“Today Ukraine is on fire because of war and the world is on fire because of the climate emergency. Both are fueled by oil and gas. Europe collectively needs to ban Russian fossil fuels but this cannot mean a lock-in to gas and oil from other countries.We are calling on Europe and Norway to put an end to exploration of additional fossil fuel reserves and cancel any new oil and gas infrastructure projects. We call on political leaders for wartime mobilization aimed at massive investments in real solutions - energy efficiency and renewables at scale and speed.” — Svitlana Romanko, founder and director of Razom We Stand NGO

“Investing in false solutions will make the way towards a safe, peaceful and climate neutral future much longer and much more expensive. The dire price which Ukraine is now paying for freedom and democracy in Europe is too high to waste time and money on such false solutions.” — Natalia Gozak, Center for environmental initiatives Ecoaction

“The fossil fuel sector is obsolete. Governments who subsidize oil and gas companies with public money are violating the rights of their citizens, breaching international law and destroying competition in the energy market.  The EU and  Norway are undermining carbon sink/climate leader Guyana by  propping up a zombie oil and gas sector.” — Melinda Janki, Justice Institute Guyana   

“Oil and gas should have nothing to do with a so-called ‘green’ industry agreement. It is not right for Norway to take advantage of the EU's vulnerable situation to legitimise continued exploration for petroleum. If Norway’s proposal is accepted by the EU, it will be a scandal that undermines the Paris Agreement itself and sends a clear signal to other countries that they too can continue with oil production.” — Truls Gulowsen, leader of Friends of the Earth Norway (Naturvernforbundet)

“Increasing gas production cannot be considered as a movement in the direction of decarbonization of the energy sector and optimization of the energy mix - the goals that countries strive for in order to mitigate climate change. Representatives of Ukrainian NGOs understand the difficulties that the EU faces today, and we also understand that Ukraine today, in the difficult conditions of war, has a chance to start transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Therefore, the current conditions are an opportunity for governments to once again review the extent to which the commitments made in the energy sector coincide with real actions.” — Nataliya Lytvyn, project coordinator of the Ecoclub NGO and the coalition “Energy Transition”

“We reject the EU-Norwegian attempt to use CCS — a technology that has repeatedly failed to deliver promised emissions reductions — to justify disastrous planned expansion of drilling in the Arctic and new oil and gas projects around the world, while offering the Norwegian sea-bed as a primary destination for carbon waste. No amount of investment in CCS can accelerate the needed transition away from fossil fuels, and our oceans are no dumping ground for carbon pollution.” — Lili Fuhr, Deputy Program Director, Climate & Energy, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

List of signatories:

Razom We Stand NGO

Oil Change International 

Friends of the Earth Norway (Naturvernforbundet)

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Coalition “Energy Transition” (Ukraine)

Center for environmental initiatives Ecoaction (Ukraine)

NGO “Plato” (Ukraine)

NGO “Zero waste Lutsk” (Ukraine)

EKOenergy ecolabel (Finland)

Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet GASP 

Uplift (UK)

Les Amis de la Terre France

350.org

Justice Institute Guyana 

International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute 

NGO Ekoltava (Ukraine)

IG Mariupol Zero Waste (Ukraine)

NGO Zero Waste Society (Ukraine)

Andy Gheorghiu Consulting (Germany/International)

NGO Ecological news (Kherson, Ukraine)

Leave it in the Ground Initiative (LINGO, Germany)

Danube-Carpathian Programme NGO (Lviv, Ukraine)

NGO "Wetland park Osokorky" (Ukraine)

NGO Green Leaf (Odesa, Ukraine)

NGO Khmelnytskyi energy cluster (Ukraine)

NGO SaveDnipro (Ukraine)

NGO National Ecological Center of Ukraine

ICO “Environment-People-Law”

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