US Watchdog's Message to Europe: There Is No Such Thing as 'Green Fracking'
"This is nothing but corporate greenwashing. The White House is contributing to a cynical marketing scheme to convince people that you can affix a 'clean' label to dirty gas infrastructure."
A leading watchdog on Wednesday responded to a report that Biden administration officials are meeting with industry representatives in a bid to boost exports of deceptively named "green" fracked gas to Europe by dispelling the notion that any fossil fuel could be considered "green"—especially during a worsening climate emergency.
Bloomberg Lawreported Tuesday that the Biden administration, the gas industry, and environmental leaders are discussing federal standards for so-called "green gas" exports.
The closed-door talks, which are scheduled to continue Thursday, come as much of Europe suffers through an energy crisis exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and amid efforts to classify fracked gas as "responsibly sourced" in order to circumvent climate concerns of potential European buyers of U.S. fossil fuels.
"There is no such thing as 'green' fracking—this is nothing but corporate greenwashing," Jim Walsh, policy director at Food & Water Watch, argued in a statement. "The White House is contributing to a cynical marketing scheme to convince people that you can affix a 'clean' label to dirty gas infrastructure, usually by promising to install carbon capture technologies that have never been shown to be effective."
"The White House should be championing policies that move the world off fossil fuels, not working closely with polluters on deceptive marketing schemes."
Under pressure from activists, policymakers, and investors to tackle the climate emergency, the fossil fuel industry has taken some serious steps toward transitioning to a post-carbon economy. But it has also resorted to tried-and-true political pressure and greenwashing in order to continue extracting, refining, selling, and exporting fossil fuels, reaping record profits as the planetary crisis worsens each year.
In Ohio, for example, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine last December signed industry- and dark money-backed legislation declaring that gas is "green energy."
Last year, European lawmakers voted to classify fossil gas and nuclear projects as "green," an official designation allowing them to enjoy taxpayer subsidies despite their harmful climate and environmental impacts.
While gas is technically cleaner than coal when measured by carbon dioxide emissions, the methane emitted during gas extraction has more than 80 times the warming power of CO2 over its first 20 years.
Last year, a report published by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York analyzing more than 2,000 scientific and government studies detailed how fracking has "dire impacts on public health and the climate."
The message from climate and public health experts is clear: There is no such thing as clean gas, and governments must do all they can to immediately transition to renewable energy sources.
"The White House should be championing policies that move the world off fossil fuels," Walsh asserted, "not working closely with polluters on deceptive marketing schemes that will encourage more fracking."