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22nd Oct 2017

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Southern Gas Corridor poses devastating consequences

  • The Southern Gas Corridor will likely lock in a fossil fuel model instead of promoting a de-carbonised future, NGOs say. (Photo: Counter Balance)

Counter Balance, Platform and Re:Common has launched a web documentary, "Walking the Line", to present the risks associated with the Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline or Southern Gas Corridor.

One of the biggest pipelines ever conceived, the corridor is supposed to stretch 3500 km from Azerbaijan to Italy and supply Europe with gas for many decades to come.

Through vivid pictures, infographics and videos, the webdoc invites the public to walk along the pipeline and have a look at the devastating consequences it would have for the people and the environment.

Inspired by a visit to Azerbaijan during the European Games in 2015, during which one of us was detained, this webdoc takes us on a journey from Caucasus to London via Italy.

Trans-Adriatic Pipeline

It tells the stories of the Azerbaijani prisoners of conscience Khadija Ismayilova and Intigam Aliyev as well as that of the young entrepreneurs, artists and citizens of the community of Melendugno in southern Italy protesting against the construction of the western section of the corridor, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), now expected to receive a 2-billion-euro loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

"Walking the line" is the story of the people who share their lives with the pipeline, but also of the governments and institutions that support the project.

The webdoc portrays an EU that plays dumb when it comes to its climate commitments and is ready to turn a blind eye to Azerbaijan's appalling human rights record and partner with the corrupt regime of Ilham Aliyev.

It sheds light on the suspicious links between the Aliyev family and the British oil company BP and exposes the interests of big energy corporations lobbying the EU in favour of gas, despite evidence of declining demand.

But the documentary also shows that an alternative is possible. The last stop of the journey is a deprived London suburb, where citizens are setting up their own renewable energy projects. Instead of fueling poverty and securing huge profits for big companies, such initiatives encourage sustainable solutions and empower those involved.

These are the same values that the EU is supposed to promote. Yet it is giving huge financial and political support to the Southern Gas Corridor thus supporting a corrupt regime, and threatening the livelihood of many.

NGO campaign against Southern Gas Corridor

Counter Balance, Platform and Re:Common are committed to raising awareness about the risks associated with infrastructure mega-projects as part of their "No more gas" campaign.

In this regard, the Southern Gas Corridor is an emblematic project likely to lock in a fossil fuel model instead of promoting a de-carbonised future.

It is urgent that the public is alerted to the harmful impacts of the project.

EU institutions and many governments have made this project a key political priority. The European Investment Bank has announced its interest in financing TAP with the biggest loan ever granted since the bank was created.

NGOs are now calling for the EU institutions and the EIB not to finance the project. A group of 27 NGOs have sent a letter to the EIB's President Werner Hoyer, exposing the main arguments against TAP.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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