MEPs must not allow gas industry to take money from Europe’s regions | WWF
MEPs must not allow gas industry to take money from Europe’s regions

Posted on 08 September 2020

MEPs can instead help Europe’s most vulnerable regions unlock the door to a sustainable future.
What’s happening and why does it matter?
On the week of 14 September, the European Parliament has a chance to help free Europe’s regions from fossil fuels and support the creation of sustainable jobs. MEPs will vote in plenary on the EUR17.5 billion Just Transition Fund, which aims to support EU regions in their transition to climate neutrality. 

MEPs must overturn the regressive position of the Parliament’s Regional Affairs Committee, which voted in favour of gas being eligible for Just Transition funding. Polluting gas has no place in a climate neutral Europe and is not particularly effective for job creation (see ‘Further info’). 

The European Commission, EU Member States and the EU Committee of the Regions all oppose gas getting Just Transition funding. 

Katie Treadwell, Energy Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office said:
“MEPs have a crucial choice. They can kick out fossil fuels and help Europe’s most vulnerable regions unlock the door to a sustainable future. Or they can take money away from those regions to give to the polluting gas industry. Doing this would be a shocking betrayal both of European citizens and of the climate targets MEPs claim they endorse.”

What does WWF 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
Further information:

Why not gas?
Allowing the gas industry to get Just Transition Fund money 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

25 organisations sent a letter on Tuesday 8th September to the heads of the political groups calling for the Parliament to reject any opening for fossil gas and ensure the fund prioritises support for Member States who have committed to an ambitious transition.

New and unbranded photos and videos on just transition for media use.
NEW for media use: Stories of just transition for media use from Bytom, Poland
Photos here
Film interviews, b-roll and transcript here
If interested in the footage in TV-ready format, please contact Sarah (sazau@wwf.eu) 

Media invite: 24 September - Forum of Mayors from coal regions
On 24 September 2020, WWF is organising with the city of Bytom, Poland, the third meeting of mayors from European coal regions to discuss a future beyond coal.
EU Commission VP Timmermans will give a keynote speech.
From 10:00-12:00 CEST media are invited to join the first part of the online event.
Register here 

Contact: 
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
MEPs from the EPP, Renew and S&D could allow gas to be eligible for Just Transition funding. This would undermine workers and the path to a climate neutral EU.
© Alix @ CartoonBase / WWF EPO