Vienna, March 29, 2023 – On Tuesday evening 28th March, in Vienna, activists disrupted the highly securitised, luxurious European Gas Conference ‘Gala Dinner’ where senior energy executives dined alongside the EU Commission, BlackRock, US Department of Energy, ING Bank, British Embassy, McKinsey Consulting, the International Energy Agency and more. Whilst journalists were denied access, the activists were able to infiltrate and disrupt the event at its secret location, exposing the human costs of a corrupt energy system: neocolonialism, sky-rocketing living costs and climate catastrophe. They repeatedly asked, “at what cost?”.
The protestors loudly interrupted this undemocratic space of power, naming the VIPs present, and displayed banners showing “Don’t Gas Africa” and “At What Cost?”. They labelled the attendees’ backdoor policy deals as “racist and neocolonial…stealing our right to a just transition while people pay with their lives”. In light of the record profits of attending companies during a European cost of living crisis, activists argued “while you cook up billion-euro deals to lock us into an catastrophic fossil-fuelled future, people can’t heat their homes or feed their families”. The action footage is attached to this press release.
Outside, a mass mobilisation from across Europe and Africa organised by the BlockGas alliance and the Power to the People Conference, gathered to protest the event. In view of the devastating warnings in last week’s IPCC report, stating that 3 billion people live in areas “highly vulnerable” to climate breakdown, activists are appalled by a conference celebrating and endorsing further fossil gas investments and private profit. The activists said “these gas executives, financiers, and politicians deal in disasters. It is a ‘Gas Industrial Complex’; a web of corporate, political relations feeding off violent, neocolonial dynamics to maintain and expand fossil gas projects. Our crises are their currency.”
Don’t Gas Africa campaigners commented on the action saying:
“The European Gas Conference represents a systematic plan by the fossil fuel industry for the massive scaling up of gas in Africa. The continent now sits at a crossroads and there is a fight to decide its energy and development future.
African land is not a gas station. Millions are losing their homes, don’t have access to food, have their health threatened, and are slipping into higher levels of extreme poverty because of the fossil fuel industry. Gas is a bridge to nowhere and will not address energy access challenges on our continent. Decision makers and policymakers should be supporting sustainable solutions; for a fossil-free Africa.”
The activists demand energy policy written in collusion with communities on the knife edge of climate breakdown and workers across industries. Not fossil fuel companies and imperial investors. There can be no climate justice without rewriting the international script that says some people and places are more valuable than others.
- Video footage of the action will be released on climate justice collective WeSmellGas’ and Block Gas’ social media.
- Please call or text Pia on ‘Signal’: +33651968888 for more information.