With the energy price crisis and geopolitical changes, fishing for new fossil gas and attempting to revive the coal agenda occurred even as fossil fuels are in their twilight and a just transition is kicking off. 

“We criticise the Commission’s plan for betting on LNG imports and hydrogen. We can’t replace dangerous fossil fuels with other dangerous fossil fuel sources”  Esther Bollendorff, Senior Gas Policy Coordinator on ENDS

“Any signal about having coal come back, not in a temporary way, but for good, would be a betrayal to the people who were promised a just transition away from a very dirty and unhealthy environment towards good and prosperous jobs and a sustainable energy system – as well as a betrayal to the investment and business community, so I wouldn’t think that the EU can take that risk.”  Elif Gündüzyeli, Senior Energy Policy Coordinator on CGTN

2022 should have been the decisive year for phasing out fossil gas as there was a clear political shift away from Russian imports into the EU, in addition to climate considerations. However a huge opportunity was turned into a daunting risk as Member States strongly betted on gas diversification or even coal revival. New gas import deals were arranged with the US, Norway but also Algeria, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and others. CAN Europe actively shaped public opinion on this risky fossil fuel push and hydrogen hype.

During the summer we put a lot of effort into massively  mobilising civil society and other stakeholders against greenwashing gas and nuclear as sustainable energy sources eligible for private funding sources under the EU taxonomy. Unfortunately, our work trying to avoid dirty energy sources being classified as green will need to continue in 2023.

Reducing methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas, goes hand-in-hand with phasing out fossil gas by 2035. We strongly pushed policy makers with an independant legal analysis showing that it is possible to take ambitious action on reducing methane leakages from imported gas.

The long-awaited approval of the Territorial Just Transition Plans came at the end of the year, unlocking the Just Transition Fund for the EU’s coal and industrial regions. However, uncertainties remain on ensuring commitments to Paris-compatible coal phase-out dates in a period of energy price and security crises which has triggered a coal revival in certain Member States.

We monitored the threat of coal revival in the EU, showing the real picture to the media and the potential implications for the people and climate if the EU and Member States do not consciously take measures to avoid a structural return to coal.