Press Releases

Media Advisory

The European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI) is voting on the EU Just Transition Fund - which aims to support EU regions in their transition to climate neutrality - on 6 July. They have the chance to follow the EU Council, which last week agreed to fully exclude fossil fuels from funding. The Parliament voted to exclude fossil fuels from EU regional funds in March 2019. Yet despite this, there is a potential unholy alliance between the ECR, EPP and Renew to push for a big loophole which would allow some gas power and infrastructure to get funding.

62 NGOs including WWF and Climate Action Network Europe are today sending an open letter to all MEPs in the committee, urging them to vote against including gas in the Fund.

Why does it matter?
The gas industry is pushing hard for Just Transition Fund money. This would directly contradict the concept of a just transition to a zero carbon economy. Fossil gas has no role as a transitional fuel: it accelerates climate change and leaked methane emissions can make it worse for the climate than coal. There is also zero evidence that it would create many or decent jobs, while every $1 million (USD) invested in renewables creates three times more jobs than in fossil fuels.

Last but not least, giving priority and money to gas projects would cement Europe's future in a gas lock-in over the next 40-50 years and waste up to €29 billion of EU taxpayers’ money in stranded assets.

What do WWF and CAN Europe want?
To truly deliver, the EU Just Transition Mechanism should do three key things:
1. Exclude gas and other fossil fuels - only projects consistent with a sustainable and climate neutral Europe by 2040 should be financed
2. Require plans to be aligned with EU climate targets to access funds, reward climate ambition and include coal phase-out dates of 2030 latest, and gas phase-out dates of 2035 latest
3. Encourage and enable effective partnerships by supporting transparency and meaningful engagement, including with civil society, local governments and trade unions

Katie Treadwell, Energy Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office said:
“The gas industry has been fighting tooth and nail to claw off money that’s meant for Europe’s vulnerable communities. Despite this, the EU Council agreed last week to exclude all fossil fuels from the Just Transition Fund. The European Parliament must close its ears to the gas lobbies and do the same, or they will be nobbling the EU just transition from the get-go.”

Markus Trilling, finance and subsidies policy coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“The just transition fund must serve communities impacted by the much needed transition to climate neutrality, not provide a lifeline to climate-harmful fossil gas. Switching from fossils to renewables and energy savings is the only way forward to limit temperature increase to 1.5°c, as the Paris Agreement requires.”

Despite the Council’s final position against fossil fuels, such is the contention surrounding this issue that it abandoned its first attempts to agree, when the file was reopened by some of the CEE and Baltic countries who wanted it to finance fossil gas.

Following the REGI Committee vote, a plenary vote is expected in September.

ENDS

Contacts:

Katie Treadwell
Energy Policy Officer
WWF European Policy Office
ktreadwell@wwf.eu
+32 470 73 57 48

Sarah Azau,
Media Manager
WWF European Policy Office
sazau@wwf.eu
+32 473 573 137

Nicolas Derobert
Head of communications
nicolas@caneurope.org
+32 483 62 18 88

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.

Contact Communications

Nicolas

Nicolas Derobert
Communications Coordinator 
nicolas /at/ caneurope.org 
Work: +32 2894 4673
Mobile: +32 483 621 888

sv1

Stevan Vujasinović
Communications Coordinator for Southeast Europe
stevan /at/ caneurope.org 
Mobile: +381 (0)63 390 218

sv1

Goksen Sahin
Communications Coordinator
goksen /at/ caneurope.org 
Work: +32 2893 0827
Mobile: +32 468 453 920

CANEurope RT @foeeurope: 👏We could not be more excited to launch our STUNNING NEW #CommunityEnergy handbook Full of instructions, tips, amazing succ…
13hreplyretweetfavorite
CANEurope RT @Mattias_S: NEW #climatefinance update from EU show an increase, but how much of these funds are actually a gift? Loans continue to cons…
14hreplyretweetfavorite
CANEurope RT @Energy_Post: Europe has enough Gas infrastructure to meet demand. Why build more? Also, 3%+ methane leak rates make its emissions worse…