Watson: Horizon 2020 – gas is a fossil fuel, not ‘low carbon’ energy

Sir Graham Watson MEPAhead of a meeting of national industry and research ministers in Brussels tomorrow (Thursday 31 May), Sir Graham Watson MEP has struck out at reports that gas may be defined as low-carbon energy and receive research and innovation funding destined for renewables.

Sir Graham Watson MEP is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties working to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, and also a UK Liberal Democrat MEP.

Commenting ahead of the Competitiveness Council, Sir Graham said:

“If leaked drafts are genuine, it would appear that national governments have caved in to the gas lobby and are letting them get their hands on some of the EU’s vital €87 billion research and innovation funding – the pot that is mainly destined for renewables.”

“Gas is cleaner than coal – but it is still a fossil fuel, and should not be labelled as ‘low-carbon’. Furthermore, the industry last year made €140 billion in profits – they can afford to pay for the research themselves.”

“The industry claims gas will be necessary to back up variable renewables. But with long-distance electricity highways, renewables and hydro can back up renewables.”

“It will now be up to us in the European Parliament to stamp this out.”

Notes to Editors

Ministers will be meeting on Thursday 31 May in the Competitiveness Council covering the internal market, industry and research. They are set to agree a political agreement on or “partial general approach” to the 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 framework for research and innovation.

This news follows a campaign led by Eurogas, Euracoal and Eurelectric among others for Horizon 2020, the EU’s targeted research and innovation funding programme, to support “conventional power generation”.

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