29 Jan 2024, 13:58
Benjamin Wehrmann

U.S. freeze of new LNG projects on environmental grounds should be blueprint for Germany – activists

Clean Energy Wire

The U.S. government’s decision to put a halt to licensing new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and examine the projects’ environmental and social impacts should serve as a blueprint for handling planned LNG import projects in Germany, NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) has said. “The decision by president [Joe] Biden gives us hope that the spiral of escalation in LNG expansion can finally be stopped,” DUH head Sascha Müller-Kraenner said. The U.S. government’s screening could pull the plug on 17 planned new LNG terminals, including those that are supposed to supply Germany with LNG, such as the Calcasieu Pass 2 project in Louisiana. The moratorium imposed by Biden’s administration should be copied in Germany before any new LNG projects are licensed, Müller-Kraenner argued. “Germany urgently needs a moratorium for building and licensing more LNG terminals. A myopic policy that bets on environmental destruction and fracking-LNG amid falling gas consumption levels threatens Germany’s energy security and our climate targets,” he added.

The U.S. has become a key gas trading partner for Germany, after the latter stopped trading natural gas with its formerly most important supplier Russia in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Germany did not have any domestic LNG import capacity before Russia’s attack, the country quickly adapted to the loss of Russian pipeline gas and built up import capacities on its coast. This has irked residents and environmental groups alike, especially after a government report found that Germany could be headed for an oversized LNG import infrastructure, given its climate targets and ambition to phase-out all fossil fuels by 2045. Environmental group DUH had tried to halt the construction of another LNG terminal on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen, a popular holiday destination, due to its impact on the environment. However, a court last week rejected an urgent motion against the terminal, meaning construction can continue.

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