Activists from the “BlockGas” alliance staged a protest at Vienna Airport on Sunday, blocking access to the private jet terminal ahead of the European Gas Conference (EGC) in Vienna. The protest, which was organized by the “BlockGas” civil society alliance, aimed to draw attention to the climate crisis and poverty caused by high energy costs in Austria. The activists argued that while lobbyists, investors, and managers travel to the gas conference with private jets, many people in Austria are struggling to pay their gas bills and keep warm during the winter.
The Lower Austrian police reported that around 40 people participated in the demonstration, with 13 activists taped to the access road to the “General Aviation Terminal”. The police did not remove the activists, as an alternative access road had already been prepared and the blockade therefore had little impact on airport operations. Violations of the Assembly Act will be reported.
“BlockGas” had already protested on Saturday by blocking the Salztor Bridge and briefly turning the Danube Canal green. The EGC is set to take place from March 27th to 29th in an unspecified downtown hotel, with larger protests expected from Monday morning. The “Fridays For Future” movement and civil society alliance “Blockgas” are expected to lead demonstrations against the conference.
Verena Gradinger, a spokesperson for the “Blockgas” alliance, stated in a broadcast that “hundreds of demonstrators would travel to Vienna for the protests”. Leading voices in the “Fridays For Future” movement from across Europe have announced their intention to protest against the “‘Who’s Who’ of the destructive gas industry”. However, according to APA information, the group of the “Last Generation” is not planning any protests of its own.
The police anticipate both registered and spontaneous protests during the conference and will report violations of the Assembly Act. The activists aim to create a public debate on the role of gas in Europe’s energy mix and advocate for a rapid transition to renewable energy sources. The issue of climate change has gained prominence in recent years, with governments and civil society organizations around the world taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of global warming.
The European Union has set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix. The EU aims to reduce carbon emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The EU has also set a target of producing at least 32% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. To achieve these targets, the EU has implemented various policies and initiatives to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The debate over the role of gas in the energy transition has been a contentious issue in Europe, with some arguing that gas can play a role in the transition to a low-carbon economy as a transitional fuel. Others, however, argue that gas is a fossil fuel and that its use should be phased out as quickly as possible. The “BlockGas” alliance is part of a growing movement that advocates for a rapid transition to renewable energy and the phase-out of fossil fuels.
The protests at Vienna Airport and the upcoming demonstrations during the European Gas Conference highlight the urgent need to address the climate crisis and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources. The activists argue that high energy costs are exacerbating poverty and social inequality in Austria, while the conference attendees travel to the event in private jets.
The debate over the role of gas in the energy transition is a complex issue that requires a nuanced and evidence-based approach. However, it is clear that the transition to renewable energy sources is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of global warming.