Worried about a warming world, thousands of Germans refuse to use LNG – including in Canada IG News

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He tumbled down the side of Germany’s iconic Elbphilharmonie building. Blocked a German liquefied natural gas site. And thousands of residents from across Europe filled the streets of Hamburg, Germany, in what has been a week of protests for a more sustainable society.

At the heart of their movement is this warning: Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is not a solution to the energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As the Russian military offensive in Ukraine approaches the six-month mark, governments and energy industry lobbyists, including Canada, are floating the idea that adding LNG capacity will help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia’s oil and gas supplies. can be found. But the idea is opposed, with one protester in Hamburg suggesting that investing more in LNG would be “climate suicide”, adding to already high levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

“The idea in general that Europe needs LNG to stay warm in winter is really a lie,” Tony Lux told CBC News from the site of a protest camp set up this week in northwestern Hamburg.

A few thousand people are camping at the System Change Camp, a festival-like gathering set up in a park northwest of Hamburg’s center in August 2022. There are many climate activists calling for less reliance on liquefied natural gas. (Kenny Sharp/CBC)

‘Crimes against the climate’

Lux is with the German climate activist group Ende Gelland, who, along with 40 other groups, came together to form the System Change Camp. Since Monday, an estimated 6,000 people from across Europe have attended the Altona Volkspark in Hamburg for the festival-like atmosphere, tenting, working and sharing ideas.

Many of those ideas have focused on options for expanding LNG dependence, which the German government is considering in response to the Europe-wide energy crisis.

But Lux said energy policy needs to remain stable on the transition to renewable sources, and there will be more terminal “crimes against the climate and people.”

Tony Lux is part of the German activist group Ende Gelland, one of dozens of groups that have come together for this week’s demonstrations about finding energy alternatives. (Kenny Sharp/CBC)

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, sanctions imposed by Europe and the West prompted a retaliation from the Kremlin in shipments of energy supplies. Germany, in particular, has been hit hard because it relies heavily on Russian gas pumped through the Nord Stream pipeline, which has shrunk to about 20 percent of its normal supply since July 27. (The Kremlin has attributed the shortage to technical issues, saying Western sanctions affected its ability to obtain turbines from Canada and perform other maintenance on the pipeline.)

Regardless, as energy prices move upward around the world, companies and governments – including Canada – are considering more LNG development as a potential solution.

look | As Russia curbs natural gas exports, Europe will have to conserve:

EU urges countries to cut gas use by 15% by next March

The European Union proposed a voluntary target for member states to cut gas use by 15 percent by March to prepare for possible further gas cuts from Russia. It said an absolute Russian cut-off during the average winter could reduce average EU GDP by as much as one percent if countries fail to prepare.

As Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic cooperation, Michael Link has previously visited Ottawa to promote the need for more LNG and other trade between his country and Canada. Link said that while he understands that it takes years to build the infrastructure for LNG terminals, it is urgently needed.

“I’m not just speaking about Germany,” he said in an interview with CBC News Network. power and politics Host Vasi Kapelos. “A lot of us in Italy, the Netherlands, the European Union are in dire need of really safe democratic energy suppliers. And I think it will be good news for Canada as well… because I am in Germany and Canada and the European Union. I look at it as a whole. As an ideal partner.”

Can Canada Increase LNG Exports?

in June, Reuters reported that the German Government officials, including Chancellor Olaf Scholz, are interested in Canada’s export potential for LNG, suggesting that Scholz and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met at the G7 summit.

At the same time, the news agency reported that Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has spoken with Canadian LNG companies with established infrastructure to see if they can increase exports to meet demand from Europe.

In an update to CBC News, Spanish company Repsol said it is exploring ways to increase export capacity at its facility in New Brunswick.

“The company will look at any and all business that will add to or create value at St. John’s LNG, including the ability to add liquefaction capabilities to an existing facility,” said Mike Blackear, Repsol spokesman.

Other Canadian oil and gas suppliers also say they are eager to expand further into Europe, with GNL Quebec saying it could “help Europe to diversify its energy sources.”

Alberta-based Pierida Energy has proposed a multi-billion dollar pipeline to send natural gas from western Canada to Nova Scotia, where it can be channeled across the Atlantic.

The Landungsbrücken area of ​​Hamburg at dusk. Popular with tourists, it is adjacent to the site where this week’s anti-LNG road march took place. There are many cranes in the distance making up the city’s important export/import port infrastructure. (Kenny Sharp/CBC)

And although Germany is a world leader in reducing its energy consumption, it is saying it needs more liquefied natural gas to account for the changing geopolitical landscape in Europe, said Professor Pierre-Olivier Pino of Montreal’s HEC Business School. Told.

The world should listen, he said.

But he noted that Canada’s oil and gas sector wants guarantees before investing in new infrastructure to boost export potential. And he is not sure that will happen.

“I’ve never heard Germany say … ‘We are ready to sign a procurement contract for the next 20 years,’ so that it can secure all financial aspects of the project,” he said.

What expansion will look like in Germany

For expansion of LNG terminal in Germany, There are development proposals in many places According to a Reuters report, between now and 2030, mainly the north of the country consists of Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel.

On Saturday, police clashed with protesters trying to block some bridges and rail lines. A small group of protesters broke away from the crowd and managed to block Hamburg’s Kattvik Bridge, blocking rail traffic.

On Friday, several Ende Gelände activists were reported to have blocked an LNG site near Wilhelmshaven.

And previously a fertilizer facility at Brunsbüttel was the site of another blockade.

The protests peaked in thousands of people’s street marches, all calling on the country and Europe to find an alternative to LNG to address the energy crisis.

Charlie Dietz, a participant in the demonstrations, said that Hamburg was chosen because of its importance as a major port city in trade within and outside Europe.

“I think that for Germany, Hamburg will be one of the key points for the future in terms of energy transition,” Dietz said.

“We really feel together in a big way that we can really move forward, push this capitalist system to fail and build a society in solidarity to have a good life for all.” can.”

The German government says Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Canada for a three-day visit starting next Sunday to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Scholz will be joined by Germany’s Minister of Economy and Climate, Robert Hebeck, and will make stops in Montreal and Toronto. They will also visit Stephenville on Newfoundland’s west coast, where a possible new hydrogen deal is expected to be signed.

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