Trans Adriatic Pipeline
Stop the Trans Adriatic Pipeline: Sign the Open Letter
Tell the European Commission and European public banks to pull support from the TAP, which would wreck the EU's climate targets. Sign here
What it is
The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is a gas pipeline that is scheduled to be built as part of a larger chain called the Southern Gas Corridor. The pipeline aims to connect gas fields in the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to Europe, under an initiative to reduce dependence on Russian gas. The Corridor itself also consists of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline through Turkey and the South Caucasus Pipeline extension through Azerbaijan and Georgia. 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. This pipeline would destroy Europe’s climate targets, increase energy dependence on oppressive political regimes, divert billions in funding away from democratic renewable energy solutions and have unacceptable impacts on the communities in its path.
Climate implications alone mean the TAP must not go ahead. Plans for the pipeline were drawn up before the Paris Agreement was signed. Instead of rapidly reducing emissions as the Paris Agreement demands, TAP would lock Europe into fossil fuels for decades. Existing fossil fuel operations already exceed the carbon budget left to avoid irreversible changes to our climate, so there is no justification for new fossil fuel infrastructure, especially on the scale of the Southern Gas Corridor.
The European Commission admits it hasn’t made an assessment of the climate impacts of the pipeline; the European Commission’s support for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and other sections of the Southern Gas Corridor should thus be immediately frozen until proper assessments are taken. They must honour the Paris Agreement's climate promises by taking action.
Not only are the environmental implications of the pipeline against the terms of the Paris Agreement, but it comes in spite of reduced demand for gas in Europe. Between 2010 and 2015, gas demand in the European Union has decreased more than 20%; however, gas projects are evaluated with a more than 70% higher gas demand scenario in 2030. The EU has an overall surplus of gas import infrastructure and many of import capacities are underutilised, and the EU goals for energy efficiency would reduce gas demand in the next years.
The pipeline also has an immediate human cost, both in Azerbaijan and in Italy, as well as in the countries it passes through such as Albania and Greece. It faces local opposition in Italy due to the destruction construction is causing to the cultural history and environment, while the EU will be funding an oppressive regime in Azerbaijan that has a history of human rights violations and is repressing free speech.
This pipeline cannot be built without financial backing, and there is a call for taxpayer-funded banks who are considering investing in it - the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - not to get involved. The EIB and EBRD are partners of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, set up to promote transparency and good governance in oil, gas and mining industries. In March, Azerbaijan quit this transparency initiative after being suspended due to concerns about civil society freedoms and human rights - showing why it would be inappropriate for them to fund the TAP.
TAP would also have unjust impacts on the many communities it would pass through. In Melendugno, the ending point of the pipeline in Italy, the local ‘No TAP Committee’ is clear that this is an undemocratic project that is imposed by the national government, and that it will cause vast economic and irreparable environmental damage to the local area. Concerns about impacts on tourism, water quality and people’s livelihoods in the olive-farming industry are high priority for them and so when works began to uproot hundreds of ancient olive trees to make way for the pipeline, a popular movement of thousands of people organised daily non-violent actions to stop the operations, catching the attention of the Italian media. The sheer size of the protests managed to suspend works indefinitely. If construction continues, it’s fair to expect more of such actions and community resistance, as people defend their rights, livelihoods and local landscapes.
In Azerbaijan, all criticism of the government is silenced, with 87 political prisoners currently held by the Azerbaijani government, as well as a number of high-profile human rights defenders arrested in the run up to the 2015 European Games. Corruption and abuse of power are rife within the leadership of the country, and any exposure of or opposition to it is liable to get one arrested and imprisoned under false charges. The cases of Khadija Ismayilova and Intigam Aliyev are highlighted in this report.
Despite the numerous human rights violations by the Azerbaijani regime, the EU continues to maintain relations with them, and as the human rights crisis gets worse, funding the regime through the TAP will not improve the Azerbaijanis' situation.