Guerrilla Projections


Photo by Michael Danner
Photo by Michael Danner


Skyrocketing methane emissions are devastating our climate and human health. Atmospheric concentrations are higher than in at least 800,000 years and emissions are responsible for 0.5°C of global heating since pre-industrial times. Methane pollution also produces harmful smog, contributing to respiratory disease, premature death, ecosystem degradation, and significant losses of food crops.

Over 90% of fossil gas is methane and the fossil gas industry is a major source of emissions. As it is extracted, transported, and burnt, this slippery greenhouse gas leaks into our atmosphere, where it is at least 86 times more dangerous to our climate than CO2. Meanwhile, the fossil gas industry continues to spend millions of euros each year on lobbying and misinformation campaigns to sell the idea that fossil gas is a clean, green climate solution. Sadly, European politicians are falling for this industry greenwash, raising the risk of locking Europe into costly stranded assets and runaway climate change.

But the true scale of fossil methane pollution has become too hard for public officials to ignore, thanks in large part to the growing deployment of a range of sophisticated satellite, air, and ground-based technologies that now allow us to hunt for and track these emissions worldwide. Political institutions have finally begun to acknowledge the urgency of cutting methane and promise action, but at the same time, still continue to support and invest in its extraction all over the globe. 

It is against this backdrop that the Gastivists Collective launched in Fall 2021 its #MethaneLeaks campaign, a “guerrilla” communications project to shine a spotlight on methane pollution on the international stage and expose the greenwashing of fossil gas as a climate solution. Between October and December 2021, the Gastivists supported grassroots groups across Europe in carrying out three guerrilla projections in public spaces in European capitals during high-profile political events focused on climate action. The projections featured infrared footage of methane leakage from gas infrastructure throughout Europe, along with protest slogans and creative animations customized for each location.

29 Oct. 2021

Extinction Rebellion activists confront G20 host with methane leak projection. 

On the eve of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, Extinction Rebellion activists used a series of unpermitted “guerrilla” projections to draw attention to the climate and health dangers of new fossil gas infrastructure. Fifteen grassroots activists beamed infrared footage of usually invisible methane leakage from Italian gas infrastructure onto the walls of the Tiber River in the heart of Rome.

Community members from nearby Civitavecchia co-led the action, criticizing the Italian government’s plans to build a new fossil gas plant in the city as they phase out coal. This local case has become emblematic in Italy of the national government’s climate and energy strategy that relies heavily upon the transformation of its existing coal infrastructure into fossil gas infrastructure. Of all countries in the EU, Italy is planning the largest expansion of fossil gas use in the electricity sector between 2018 and 2025.

“Moving from coal to gas is like moving from unfiltered cigarettes to filtered. What our climate and communities need instead are for countries like Italy to quit building fossil fuel infrastructure entirely and start investing instead in renewable energy that supports local economies. Italy’s plans to replace the Enel coal-fired power plant in Civitavecchia with another climate-wrecking fossil fuel shows that their real interest lies in keeping Enel and Snam happy – not in reducing climate emissions,” said Neal Huddon-Cossar from XR Roma. 

9 Nov. 2021

Activists beam 40-meter “guerilla projection” of methane leakage images onto the SEC Armadillo in response to leaked documents that reveal EU plans for 30 new fossil gas projects just days after signing Global Methane Pledge.

Ten activists from the Shale Must Fall network, Gastivists Collective, and Climate Camp Scotland beamed a series of unpermitted 40-meter “guerrilla projections” onto the iconic COP26 Climate Summit venue in Glasgow. This action came just days after leaked European Commission documents revealed plans to fast-track approval to 30 new fossil gas infrastructure projects through the “Projects of Common Interest” (PCI) list. The images – which included scandalous infrared images of methane leakage from British and European fossil gas infrastructure – were aimed at drawing attention to the “Methane Gap” between what was promised in the Global Methane Pledge and the construction of new methane infrastructure in Europe.

During the action, the official COP projectionists decided to fight back by beaming their colorful greenwashed images and the words “GO AWAY” on top of our projection in a bizarre attempt to shut us down.

“This is not terribly complicated: methane is a super-charged greenhouse gas that is already underground – all we have to do is leave it there. The fact that Scotland deems it dangerous to frack here and yet continues to allow Ineos to import fracked gas is simply immoral – if its not okay to frack here, its not okay to pay someone else to do it,” said Jemma Kettlewell of Climate Camp Scotland. “Europe tries to hide the true emissions of fossil gas imports, but methane doesn’t stop at our borders. Whether we import it to burn, or to make plastics or to make petrochemicals – imported methane comes with a heavy price tag for the climate, not to mention the impacts of such industries on local communities like Mossmorran. Any European energy strategy that continues to rely on leaky, immoral, expensive, and imported fossil gas simply has no place in our clean energy future.

13 Dec. 2021

“Guerrilla projection” on Belgian gas plant draws attention to the climate dangers of methane leakage and the need for a fossil gas phaseout. 

The evening before the expected release of new methane regulations by the European Commission, the Gastivists Collective and local ally Tegengas organized a “guerrilla projection” action at the Vilvoorde gas plant on the outskirts of Brussels. 

Europe is the world’s largest importer of fossil gas (much of which comes from fracking). New EU legislation, however, only calculates methane emissions of this dirty energy source from inside Europe, while ignoring the massive leaks from extraction and transport outside EU borders. Europe needs to own-up to its responsibility to the full emissions of the energy it consumes, and move away from false solutions such as nuclear, hydrogen, and fossil gas. 

Groups across Europe are demanding legislation that listens to climate science, and not the fossil fuel industry, and thus call for a full fossil gas phase-out by 2035. Any new fossil gas infrastructure that is approved today will become a climate menace and a stranded asset. Our public money should be going to pay for a just climate transition, not to maintain industry share prices. 


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