On 7 June 2019, the Federal Council adopted the “Ordinance on improving the framework conditions for the development of LNG infrastructure in Germany” presented by Chancellor Angela Merkel. This was made possible because the climate killers voted the Greens to build and subsidize this infrastructure to import fracking gas from the US. All this happened less than two weeks after the EU election, in which the Greens had won massive votes, including a rezo video, because of their image of environmental and climate policy.
The issue of LNG concerns liquefied natural gas from the United States, which is produced by extremely polluting fracking, which, incidentally, is banned in Germany, i.e. the import of a fossil fuel such as coal or oil, and the hundreds of millions of euros in subsidies for the necessary terminals and other infrastructure that has to be built up first. Ultimately, this is also a barely concealed subsidization of the still extremely expensive gas from the US, which the Trump administration would probably not be able to sell under normal market conditions.
On 28 May 2019, one day before the “Europe Election”, Julia Verlinden, spokeswoman for energy policy of the Greens in the Bundestag, said:
Liquefied natural gas not only has a poor climate balance, it extends the fossil age. It becomes particularly problematic when the fracking process is used to extract natural gas. LNG from fracking gas torpedoes the fight against climate crisis and environmental hazards in two ways. We therefore strongly oppose fracking. Instead of further attracting investment in natural gas infrastructure, the federal government should finally create a clear perspective for the phase-out of fossil fuels natural gas.
A few days after this election, the Greens in the Federal Council ensured that LNG fracking gas could be imported into Germany in a subsidized manner. There is no contribution to this Federal Council vote for fracking gas on Julia Verlinden’s website.
In the article “Will fracking gas be fuelled in Hamburg soon?” the Hamburger Abendblatt writes about the environmental concerns and the voting behaviour of the “Environmental Party” The Greens:
Gilbert Siegler, spokesman for the privately organised Hamburg Energy Table, which is involved in energy policy, told the Abendblatt that Hamburg wants to shut down two coal-fired power plants by 2030 and replace them with gas-fired power plants. If an LNG terminal is built in Brunsbüttel and connected to the Hamburg gas network, the use of frozen natural gas is programmed in Hamburg. That would be a disaster for climate protection. (…) Despite such reservations, Hamburg has now agreed to the expansion of the LNG infrastructure, which means that the Greens have also spoken out in favour of it. If they had opposed it, Hamburg would have had to abstain. The fact that Hamburg’s red-green government is voting for a legal regulation that promotes the multi-million dollar expansion of LNG terminals is more than strange after the full-bodied announcements of the mayor and the environmental senator on climate protection, said BUND CEO Braasch.
Hubertus Zdebel, a member of the Bundestag from Die Linke, commented on the matter in a press release entitled “Federal Council sends a fatal signal for fracking gas and against climate protection through LNG extraction.” Zdebel, like the Hamburger Abendblatt, referred to the usual voting behaviour in the Federal Council by state governments whose coalition partners disagree. If a coalition partner is “against”, the respective state government abstains. The Greens, however, did not cause abstentions, but rather as consent. Zdebel writes:
Instead of relying on climate protection and renewable energies, the Federal Council has advocated the import of dirty fracking gas from the USA and an extremely climate-damaging fossil fuel. (…) Less than two weeks after the European elections, in which the Greens have made climate protection the defining issue, the party has fallen behind the climate protection movement. If there are different views on a legislative proposal in a state government, it is in principle contained in the Federal Council. If all countries with green government participation had abstained, the required majority for the LNG regulation would not have been achieved.
The anti-fracking website “Against Gas Drilling” writes in the article “GREEN disappoints in the LNG vote in the Federal Council”:
This opens the door to fracking gas, mainly from America. Fracking gas, which is at least as harmful to its climate balance as coal due to its methane slip from extraction to the final consumer. Even if, as has been announced many times, we hope for better production methods, there is no denying that natural gas is a fossil fuel that must be eliminated as far as possible in the future. If we also look at the treatment of the gas, transport routes and so on, it becomes apparent that a high energy expenditure has to be carried out for this. This is not what the proponents’ arguments say. And in order to ensure that the LIQUEFi edge business (LNG) remains profitable overall, this new regulation will ask consumers to pay.
The PV-Magazine writes in the article “Depressing for Climate Protection and Green Credibility: Federal Council Supports LNG Infrastructure” on the events of the vote in the Federal Council:
The question of why three-digit millions of dollars, along with the friendliest legislative changes, are being devoted to the natural gas industry and not to renewable energies, was not verbalized by anyone, but in the form of a bee-scream going through the marrow and leg, Visitors’ gallery through the room. Whether his shameful actions were probably plagued by conscience did not come from the Bureau. The Green Environment Minister of Thuringia, Siegesmund, responded to the scream and the demonstrators in front of the Federal Council building: one had to explain to people why LNG was necessary and must not conceal dangers. Finally, unconventionally fracked natural gas can also be imported.
Interestingly, the Federal Council’s decision to subsidise the expensive and polluting fracking gas or the corresponding import infrastructure took place just during the period during which the US government has approved the extensive expansion of the LNG export infrastructure for gas extracted from fracking in the US. Bizarrely, the US authorities rename the US fracking gas “Freedom Gas” or its molecules into “Molecules of Freedom”. These terms remind the viewer of the “Freedom Fries” in the USA from the time of the invasion of Iraq.
The Swiss website watson.ch writes about freedom gas and the US export ambitions of fracking gas that are surprisingly well suited to German import ambitions:
In a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday, fossil fuels and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are referred to as “freedom molecules” or “freedom gas.” (…) But it gets even better. The real news in the press release is the announcement of a new gas liquefaction plant in Houston, Texas. Located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, it is intended to distribute “Freedom Gas” a.k.a. liquid natural gas to the world.
The Spiegel writes in the article “Fracking. U.S. government promotes ‘freedom gas’:
The press release of the US Department of Energy would hardly have been noticed by anyone other than industry experts. The agency announces that a new facility on the Texas coast will allow more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be exported abroad in the future. (…) The US government would also like to sell more liquefied natural gas to Europe. Although EU imports have recently increased, the share of LNG in total consumption in Europe is still very small.