This morning, Members of the European Parliament and environmental groups played the board game 'Fracking RISK' to highlight how shale gas fails to offer a real solution to climate change or to the EU's growing dependency on imported natural gas. In the lead up to the 'Global Frackdown', an international day of action against shale gas on 11 October, Food & Water Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe were warning against the environmental and social harm that fracking for shale gas brings.
Commenting, director of Food & Water Europe Geert De Cock said "Communities across Europe are standing up on this Global Frackdown day to make their voices heard and call for a ban on the risky and unnecessary practice of fracking for shale gas. Any energy security concerns resulting from the Ukraine crisis should motivate the EU to seek real, renewable solutions, not to further lock itself into dependence on fossil fuels like shale gas."
Local groups are springing up all around Europe in opposition to fracking, and their message is echoed in numerous opinion polls, showing strong public support for ambitious policies on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Amplifying the message of the Global Frackdown, citizens' groups across Europe are protesting against the opaque negotiations on free trade agreements between the EU and Canada and the United States. Also on October 11, a European day of action against the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) will highlight that these deals risk opening the back door to the expansion of fracking in Europe. A report by Friends of the Earth Europe earlier this year outlined how the TTIP could limit governments' ability to regulate the development and expansion of fracking, stopping efforts to address climate change and to protect citizens.
"European decision makers haven't listened to the concerns of the citizens they are supposed to represent. This is why the anti-fracking movement keeps on growing," said Friends of the Earth Europe shale gas campaigner, Antoine Simon. "Relying on the fossil fuel industry to have the best interests of citizens at heart is absurd. Considering the danger shale gas poses, both in terms of climate change and local pollution, only an outright ban can protect the environment and people's health."