Environmental NGOs step up opposition to Germany’s first LNG terminal
Clean Energy Wire / Bizz Energy
A group of environmental NGOs in Germany has intensified its resistance to the construction of the country’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, arguing that greater imports of the fossil fuel are no adequate complement to the country’s aim of decarbonising its energy supply. In an open letter, the group that focuses on a terminal planned to be built in the coastal town of Brunsbüttel and which includes the major NGO Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), says that “fossil gas is neither climate-friendly nor green, but instead contributes decisively to climate change.” Apart from the emissions released during the controversial extraction method of fracking, leakages in gas transport mean that LNG emissions are much higher than commonly thought. Moreover, the NGOs say that despite LNG’s lower emissions compared to coal or oil, it would be too expensive to contribute to emissions reduction in a cost-efficient way.
In an article carried by Bizz Energy, Andy Gheorghiu of NGO Food & Water Europe said the LNG debate in Germany was “not led by climate policy considerations but rather by geopolitical tensions between the US and Russia,” arguing that the German government would use the terminal to appease the US in return for Berlin’s insistence on the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which the US opposes.
Environmental NGO DUH criticised Germany’s economy and energy ministry (BMWi) for a planned change in regulation that would allow the owners of a new LNG terminal to charge gas customers for its construction. “There’s a high risk that we will see stranded investments in LNG terminals in a few years because they are no longer usable due to climate considerations – and consumers would have to pay for it,” DUH’s Sascha Müller-Kraenner said. However, DUH said that gas as “the fossil fuel with the lowest CO2 impact will play an important role for a period of transition in the energy system.”
German energy minister Peter Altmaier in February said LNG was “one important point of cooperation” between Germany and the US in what was seen as a bid to defuse tensions with Washington in international energy and security policy. According to the German government, LNG imports can contribute to a secure supply of natural gas “at competitive prices” and help reach climate goals in line with the Paris Agreement.