Joint statement to exclude all fossil gas investments from the Just Transition Fund

The Paris Agreement and the objective of limiting temperature increase to 1,5 °C, the steer of the European Union towards climate neutrality and the ENVI committee’s recent push in favour of increasing substantially the EU’s current emission reduction target from 40% up to 60% by 2030 are strong political signals in support of a swift phase out of future fossil gas investments. The ENVI furthermore called for “the Union institutions and all Member States [to] as early as possible and by 2025 at the latest, have phased out all direct and indirect fossil subsidies”, in order for the Union to reach the climate neutrality objective by 2050 at the latest and the intermediate climate targets for 2030 and 2040. 

A number of recent scenarios including from DIW Berlin, the German Institute for Economic Research, model steep reductions in fossil gas use across the EU. True decarbonization means an exit from gas in the coming decades. Soon, fossil gas will no longer play a role in the EU’s energy system and most of the fossil gas infrastructure will be decommissioned.[1]

Using EU public funds to invest into new fossil gas infrastructure today will lead to stranded assets[2], as expensive infrastructure becomes obsolete after less than 20 years running time. If loopholes are given to fossil gas in the scope of the just transition fund, this means rendering coal dependent countries dependent on another fossil fuel – soon to be stranded which contradicts with the “leaving no one behind” objective. Furthermore, the political objective of transitioning away from fossil fuels would be turned on its head when transitioning to another fossil fuel

On the positive side, reducing the EU’s gas consumption will save €280 bn in fossil fuel imports by 2030, largely offsetting investments into renewables, efficiency and storage. This can also lead to €10,000 bn savings in environmental and climate costs between 2015 and 2050.[3] 

The Council’s position on this issue is very clear. Member States excluded “investments related to the production, processing, distribution, storage or combustion of fossil fuels” from the scope of the Just Transition Fund.[4] They are aware of the economic dangers of continuing to invest EU public funds into new fossil gas projects. 

The European Parliament has to follow this example and show that the house is in line with previous commitments. Strong political declarations, need strong political actions. Giving access to the 17.5 bn-Just-Transition-Fund to fossil gas will not help regions leave fossil fuels behind and speed towards climate neutrality. 

We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, therefore will not support the inclusion of fossil gas projects in the scope of the Just Transition Fund in the upcoming plenary vote (AM45 from the REGI committee). We call on you to do the same. 

Yours sincerely,

Tiemo Wölken (S&D)
Andreas Schieder (S&D)
Agnes Jongerius (S&D)
Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA)
Aurore Lalucq (S&D)
Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA)
Benoît Biteau (Greens/EFA)
Caroline Roose (Greens/EFA)
Ciarán Cuffe (Greens/EFA)
Claude Gruffat (Greens/EFA)
Constanze Krehl (S&D)
Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL)
Damian Boeselager (Greens/EFA)
Damien Carême (Greens/EFA)
Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA)
David Cormand (Greens/EFA)
Delara Burkhardt (S&D)
Dietmar Köster (S&D)
Eleonora Evi (NI)
Eric Andrieu (S&D)
François Alfonsi (Greens/EFA)
Gabriele Bischoff (S&D)
Grace O’Sullivan (Greens/EFA)
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Greens/EFA)
Henrike Hahn (Greens/EFA)
Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA)
Jytte Guteland (S&D)
Karima Delli (Greens/EFA)
Kim van Sparrentak (Greens/EFA)
Malin Björk (GUE/NGL)
Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL)
Maria Arena (S&D)
Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA)
Michael Bloss (Greens/EFA)
Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA)
Mikuláš Peksa (Greens/EFA)
Mohammed Chahim (S&D)
Monika Vana (Greens/EFA)
Mounir Satouri (Greens/EFA)
Niklas Nienaß (Greens/EFA)
Nora Mebarek, (S&D)
Patrick Breyer (Greens/EFA)
Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA)
Piernicola Pedicini (NI)
Pierre Larrouturou (S&D)
Rasmus Andresen (Greens/EFA)
Rosa D´Amato (NI)
Salima Yenbou (Greens/EFA)
Saskia Bricmont (Greens/EFA)
Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA)
Sylwia Spurek (S&D)
Vera Tax (S&D)
Ville Niinisto (Greens/EFA)
Yannick Jadot (Greens/EFA)

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