The communities of San Foca and Melendugno in southern Italy are resisting a gas mega-pipeline on their land — the Trans Adriatic Pipeline — which would bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.
In Puglia, local mothers, teachers, health workers, grandparents and olive farmers have been leading a peaceful and determined resistance to protect their land and their community from TAP, despite facing a violent response by the police and individual fines of up to €10,000. The area where the pipeline and gas receiving terminal is due to be built is home to local olive farms, aquifers, pristine forest and stunning coastline.
It’s happening now. In the early hours of Monday 13 November, hundreds of police encircled Melendugno. They imposed a “red zone” around the TAP construction site, making it prohibited for journalists, citizens and local government officials to access the site — a move clearly designed to suppress the resistance.
Take action in solidarity with the communities affected by the Trans Adriatic Pipeline.
A global wave of momentum against fossil fuel finance is building.
While not everyone can be in Italy on the front line of the resistance, the banks whose finance will make TAP and other new fossil fuel projects possible can be found in communities all across Europe. It’s time to disrupt the biggest and most expensive new fossil fuel projects in Europe where they are weak: by cutting off the finance.
TAP, like other major fossil fuel projects, cannot go ahead without the backing of banks. Currently the public European Investment Bank (EIB) is weighing up a €1.5bn loan to the project, whilst the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has just approved a $500 million loan to TANAP, another section of connecting pipeline that’s part of the Southern Gas Corridor. Once public banks have begun financing these projects, we expect private banks to follow their lead.
It’s likely that the Italian government, with the backing of the European Commission, has taken control of the heavily policed area in Melendugno to give the impression that the project is moving forward, and provide the certainty that the banks will need to lend its financial support.
But with such determined local resistance, and increasing international pressure on banks to reject TAP loans, this certainty is under threat. By acting together we can help to toxify investments in TAP and new fossil fuels.
From the international Divest the Globe days of action to recent #noTAP actions across Europe targetting the EIB and EBRD, we’ve been inspired by the creativity and solidarity shown by the growing movement to defund fossil fuels.
Pledge to take action should the bank decide to fund TAP. Hand in a copy of this pledge letter to a bank branch or office near you, and share a photo with the hashtag #DefundTAP.
Join or organise an action. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has offices around Europe — as do the companies building the pipeline — whilst the major private banks have branches in most towns and cities. You can take action at a bank branch or office near you any time, but here are some possible dates to aim for:
6 FEB: Next EIB board meeting
TAP is on the agenda for discussion, and funding could be approved or denied.
This is a joint call to action from 350.org, Banktrack, Platform London and friends – a growing network of people and groups aiming to act in solidarity with #NoTAP and build resistance against the Southern Gas Corridor and all new fossil fuels projects in Europe.
More on the pipeline and Europe’s climate-wrecking dash for gas
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is the western leg of a chain of proposed pipelines known as the Southern Gas Corridor. Scheduled for operation from 2020, these pipelines would pump 10 billion cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, and 6 billion cubic metres of gas to Turkey, every year.
Just when Europe could be investing in a renewable and fossil free future, the EU is pushing ahead with a major transition to gas — new fossil fuel infrastructure that could lock us into climate disaster — and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is one of the flagship projects. And this autumn, whilst world leaders gather in Bonn to discuss how to keep climate warming below 1.5oC, the construction of the pipeline has begun again in Melendugno, Italy.
“A roadmap to meet the Paris Agreement of staying “well below 2°C” will require halving global emissions every decade. Ramping up investment in fossil fuel infrastructure such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is inconsistent with the science of 2°C and therefore inconsistent with a goal of attempting to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change.”
~ Professor Johan Rockstrom, Stockholm Resilience Centre
People are already feeling the impacts of climate change in Italy
In Italy where the pipeline will terminate, the effects of 1 degree of warming are stark.