When Gran Canaria’s President needs to ask the European Investment Bank to stay within its strategic aims, what’s going on?
Soon after the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Redexis proudly announced a loan of €125 million from the EIB for constructing new gas infrastructure on Spain's remote region of the Canary Islands, the President of the Island Council of Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, asks what he should never have needed to ask. Without pretence, pretty pictures, or hiding behind circumstances, without waving around jobs and investment numbers, all he asks is: Could you please act according to your own strategy?
The situation, as Antonio Morales points out in his letter to the EIB President copying EU Commission and Parliament, is as follows:
The strategies of both the EU (including the Juncker Plan) and of the EIB are clear: decarbonise Europe, invest in low carbon infrastructure, in autonomy of remote regions, in renewables. Yet the EIB “invests” in carbon emissions in a region where solar, wind and geothermal could each provide enough low carbon energy for all!
The motive for the gas companies is clear: infrastructure, paid for by the public, creates a commitment to carbon fuels for decades to come, and makes fewer public funds unavailable for decarbonisation.
After three decades of struggle to convert global energy systems and save the climate and the world as we know it, these situations remain common: well-connected and well-funded carbon peddlers like Redexis persuade otherwise reasonable people to disregard their professional aims, integrity and the common good.
The inhabitants of the Canaries and of Europe deserve better than such a relentless struggle– surely once strategic aims are agreed, one may expect they are pursued? But in the interim it is up to “activists” like Antonio Morales and his team, and other groups and individuals like you and me, to keep our leaders straight.
Please help by sharing this far and wide – the Canarians need the world to be aware of their struggles.
(full version with source links at http://www.oceanvalley.co.uk/journey-blog)
Erik is a physicist, ocean sailor, petroleum engineer, climate change student, and public speaker and writer.