Snam all-gas and ‘dirty’ hydrogen. Where is the Just Transition?

Re:Common publishes today “The Unjust Transition – How Snam is selling off our future”, a report that denounces how one of the world’s most important companies for operating and expanding gas transport infrastructure represents one of the causes of the current climate crisis, and not one of the solutions, as Snam’s top management flaunts to the four winds.

L'ingiusta transizione
L'ingiusta transizione

It’s hard to talk about a green turn, when the corporation’s 2020-2024 investment plan certifies that as much as 6.5 billion euros, out of the total 7.4, are earmarked for the construction of infrastructure for the transportation of gas, which remains a fossil fuel beyond the attempts to paint it as “clean”. Last January, the president of the European Investment Bank, which for years has invested billions of euros of public funds in gas infrastructure, such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), had to admit that gas must be just a thing of the past for the institution he leads.

As explained in the report, Snam has a key role in the controversial TAP project. It should be remembered that a manager of Snam Rete Gas is currently on trial in Lecce on charges of environmental disaster. The proceedings are going very slowly, unlike those involving No TAP activists, and the next hearing is scheduled for September.

But Snam is also affecting the lack of a virtuous energy path that Sardinia could have taken. Instead of leaving room for a plan to electrify the island, it is still relying heavily on its gas infrastructure plan, despite the much trumpeted “gas backbone” project being almost a dead letter. The alternative plan of the corporation headquartered in San Donato Milanese is centered on multiple plants for the processing of liquefied natural gas along the Sardinian coast, thus creating a “virtual pipeline” to connect the industrial facilities on the island with the main land, through new LNG terminals, gas deposits and mini-gas pipelines. A possible and feasible energy transition is thus sacrificed by Snam on the altar of an old model that is an enemy of the climate.

Re:Common’s report takes up an important study conducted by the US organization Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which analyzed Snam’s 2020-2024 investment strategy and its “net zero” target by 2040. The results of IEEFA’s research are extremely relevant and particularly critical towards the Italian company, accused of inadequately accounting for its GHG emissions.

According to IEEFA, between 2017 and 2019, emissions from the end-use of gas transported by Snam, which the company does not include in its emissions calculations, would amount to 70 times those officially declared. Without taking into account the methane leaks that occur during transport, which are not so infrequent and whose impact on the climate crisis is greater than previously thought.

“Based on the data provided by IEEFA and reported in our report, if Snam claims that it will achieve ‘net zero emissions by 2040’, it does so starting from a questionable premise, with a partial emissions count and an inadequate strategy,” said Elena Gerebizza of Re:Common, author of the publication along with Filippo Taglieri. “Snam’s strong push for the development of hydrogen derived from fossil gas risks taking us to 2050 in an absolute inadequate way, too dependent on gas and with increasingly high methane emissions into the atmosphere,” Gerebizza added.

“The next ten years will be crucial for the climate and for building a more sustainable and just society. We cannot risk wasting them to follow Snam’s agenda. For a real ecological transition some companies should radically change their core business instead of camouflaging the usual fossil fuels with a touch of green and a touch of blue” concludes Filippo Taglieri.

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