Global climate advocates on Friday panned as "misguided and dangerous" the Biden administration's newly announced effort to ramp up U.S. gas shipments to European Union countries as they look to reduce their dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
Under the new initiative, according to a White House fact sheet, the U.S. will help the E.U. secure an additional 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2022 "with expected increases going forward"—a set-up likely to benefit U.S. gas exporters.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that "the U.S. aims to ship 50 billion cubic meters of LNG to Europe annually through at least 2030... making up for about a third of the gas the E.U. receives from Russia."
"The E.U. imported a record 22 billion cubic meters of LNG from the U.S. last year," the Journal noted. New gas projects are set to come online in 2025.
While the Biden administration vowed to "undertake efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of all new LNG infrastructure and associated pipelines," climate campaigners warned that the planned construction of new import facilities in Europe flies in the face of both U.S. and E.U. vows to slash planet-warming carbon emissions.
"Europe already has enough capacity to import the amount of gas the U.S. intends to supply, and building new import terminals would mean locking in fossil gas imports for years to come, long after the E.U. needs to quit this climate-wrecking fuel for good," Murray Worthy, the gas campaign leader at Global Witness, said in a statement.
"Doubling down on gas is not the solution, whether it comes from Russia or the U.S.," Worthy continued. "This announcement does not and must not be used to justify more fossil fuel projects in the U.S. New gas export terminals would take too long to build to help Europe now, would lead to huge climate-wrecking emissions and only help the fossil fuel industry."
"Instead of lining the pockets of American fracking companies," he added, "Europe should focus its energy investments on lasting solutions such as improving building insulation, heat pumps, and renewable energy sources. More investment and reliance on fossil fuels is music to the ears of despots and warmongers all over the world who recognize this is an energy system that benefits them. If Europe truly wants to get off Russian gas, the only real option it has is phasing out gas altogether."
Grassroots and tribal leaders in the U.S. also made clear that they will fight any effort to construct new gas export infrastructure.
"That is genocidal, and we will no longer allow it to happen," said Juan Mancias, tribal chair of the Esto'k Gna Nation. "We people of the land, we will stand fast, we are not going away... You are killing our ancestors again when you start building LNG terminals and pipelines."