EU lawmakers vote to prolong fossil fuel gas subsidies until 2027

(The Guardian, 28 Sep 2021) Campaigners voice dismay after rule permitting gas pipelines where energy is mixed with hydrogen.

European lawmakers have voted to prolong subsidies for fossil fuel gas until 2027, opening a potential backdoor for pollution that campaigners said would be a disaster for the climate if it becomes law.

Members of the European parliament’s industry committee voted on Tuesday to allow the EU to continue subsidising natural gas pipelines until the end of 2027, as long as the energy is mixed with an unspecified amount of hydrogen.

Hydrogen, which can be made from fossil gas or renewable sources, is seen by policymakers as a vital stepping stone to net zero emissions by 2050.

The committee also voted to allow natural gas projects, such as pipelines and storage facilities, to be eligible for special status that will speed up their approval, although they ruled out access to EU grants for such projects. Campaigners estimate between 50 and 70 natural gas projects could obtain “project of common interest” status, an EU seal of approval that helps plans get off the drawing board, gain access to finance and exemptions from EU competition rules.

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The Guardian, 28 Sep 2021: EU lawmakers vote to prolong fossil fuel gas subsidies until 2027