06 Mar 2024, 11:46
Julian Wettengel

Environmental group calls to halt LNG expansion ahead of German economy minister’s trip to the U.S.

Clean Energy Wire / Zeit Online / t-online

The NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has called on economy minister Robert Habeck to follow the example of the U.S. government and declare a moratorium on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure. Habeck is travelling to Washington D.C. and other U.S. cities this week to discuss current economy, energy and climate policy issues, his ministry said. Habeck should use the talks "to inform himself about the moratorium in the U.S. and forge new partnerships on renewables, instead of forcing the import of more and more fracked gas as LNG," said DUH managing director Sascha Müller-Kraenner, adding that the minister should make sure Germany imports only as much LNG from the U.S. as absolutely necessary.

Ahead of his trip, Habeck said that cooperation between the transatlantic partners is essential to "overcome the current geopolitical conflicts, drive forward the green transformation and at the same time strengthen the innovative power of our transatlantic economic area in the long term." Habeck called the U.S. an important partner on trade, the expansion of renewable energies and the fight against climate change. German lawmaker Jens Spahn from the conservative opposition party CDU told t-online that Habeck should use the trip to "advocate against a transatlantic subsidy race" in competition for green industry investments.

The halt of Russian pipeline gas imports following Russia's invasion of Ukraine forced Germany to re-orientate and find new suppliers. It now imports most gas from European neighbours like Norway and the Netherlands, but also set up several domestic LNG import terminals, through which it received about 5 percent of the gas consumed in 2023. Of all the direct LNG supplies that have reached Germany between the start of January 2023 and the end of February 2024, the vast majority (84%) came from the U.S.

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