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Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Trouble always comes in threes: Big polluters; the Polish Government and the UN

This is the introduction to a longer article that you can find here.

By Corporate Europe Observatory, with research contributions by Karolina Jankowska

It is an inauspicious sign for the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP19, that Poland, a country heavily dependent on coal and notorious for blocking more ambitious climate change policy at the EU level, is this year's host for the meeting. The Polish Government has invited private corporate sponsorship of the COP – a first for the conference – raising questions of whether this is being taken seriously as an international meeting of paramount importance, or a facilitated lobbying opportunity for those who have a direct commercial interest in burning more fossil fuels. The fact that one business sponsor, the steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal, paid for the building of the structures housing the international meeting – and has its logo on it – is powerfully emblematic of how corporations have captured the COP process itself1. Meanwhile the International Coal and Climate Summit run by the World Coal Association is taking place as a parallel event, with the support of the Polish Ministry of the Economy; they have issued a joint 'Warsaw Communique' proposing the non-existent “clean coal” to fight climate change.

Corporate capture is not an exclusively Polish problem, however – the UN has increasingly opened its doors to corporate participation at each successive COP meeting. It seems that ultimately those most responsible for the climate crisis are the ones calling the shots.

Talks which should be fuelled by the urgency to solve climate change are increasingly resembling business fairs, a fertile ground for carbon crooks to spin false solutions that are designed to allow them to keep burning fossil fuels while lining their pockets. Their heavy participation is a block on real progress – for example, business associations like the International Chamber of Commerce demand that all countries be treated equally regardless of their historical responsibility for carbon emissions – and a crucial factor in the COP's failure to reach an agreement thus far. Therefore COP19, which followed the horror of typhoon Yolanda devastating the Philippines, is ignoring the crucial questions – how are we going to leave fossils fuel in the ground? How do we ensure a just transition? How do we make sure the North pays its climate debt to the South? The UNFCCC was meant to be the forum to discuss all this and find way forwards. However, lack of political will and the capitulation to corporate pressure is preventing this from happening.

Read the whole article here.

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This story is part of our blog Corporate COP19. Read all the other stories here.
For comprehensive background information, check out the COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying.
For the latest, follow in Twitter: #CorporateCOP19 , @pascoesabido , @ecospaceship

Primary issue: 
This is the introduction to a longer article that you can find here.By Corporate Europe Observatory, with research contributions by Karolina JankowskaIt is an inauspicious sign for the outcome of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP19, that Poland, a country heavily dependent on coal and notorious for blocking more ambitious climate change policy at the EU level, is this year's host for the meeting. The Polish Government has invited private corporate sponsorship of the COP – a first for the conference – raising questions of whether this is being taken seriously as an international meeting of paramount importance, or a facilitated lobbying opportunity for those who have a direct commercial interest in burning more fossil fuels. The fact that one business sponsor, the steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal, paid for the building of the structures housing the international meeting – and has its logo on it – is powerfully emblematic of how corporations have captured the COP process itself1. Meanwhile the International Coal and Climate Summit run by the World Coal Association is taking place as a parallel event, with the support of the Polish Ministry of the Economy; they have issued a joint 'Warsaw Communique' proposing the non-existent “clean coal” to fight climate change.Corporate capture is not an exclusively Polish problem, however – the UN has increasingly opened its doors to corporate participation at each successive COP meeting. It seems that ultimately those most responsible for the climate crisis are the ones calling the shots.Talks which should be fuelled by the urgency to solve climate change are increasingly resembling business fairs, a fertile ground for carbon crooks to spin false solutions that are designed to allow them to keep burning fossil fuels while lining their pockets. Their heavy participation is a block on real progress – for example, business associations like the International Chamber of Commerce demand that all countries be treated equally regardless of their historical responsibility for carbon emissions – and a crucial factor in the COP's failure to reach an agreement thus far. Therefore COP19, which followed the horror of typhoon Yolanda devastating the Philippines, is ignoring the crucial questions – how are we going to leave fossils fuel in the ground? How do we ensure a just transition? How do we make sure the North pays its climate debt to the South? The UNFCCC was meant to be the forum to discuss all this and find way forwards. However, lack of political will and the capitulation to corporate pressure is preventing this from happening.Read the whole article here.###This story is part of our blog Corporate COP19. Read all the other stories here. For comprehensive background information, check out the COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying.For the latest, follow in Twitter: #CorporateCOP19 , @pascoesabido , @ecospaceship
 

It's almost six months since EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete claimed to have negotiated an historic global deal to tackle climate change at COP21in Paris. The 3 May also marked a year and a half of Cañete being in the job. However, he and his his boss, Vice President of the Commission Maros Šefčovič, continue to give privileged access to fossil fuel players trashing the climate, who have enjoyed eight meetings to every one involving renewable energy or energy efficiency interests since the Paris deal was signed. Rather than a change of direction, it's business as usual for the European Commission following the Paris Agreement, which is great news for Big Energy but a disaster for those serious about tackling climate change.

In the middle of May over 4000 people from all over Europe gathered in the Lusatia region in Eastern Germany. The plan? To block a Vattenfall-owned opencast lignite mine.

In light of the ITRE Opinion and forthcoming discussion on the proposed Directive to reform the Emissions Trading System (and “enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments”), CEO offers comments. 

Ultimately, revisions of this sort are nowhere near enough. The new ETS Directive requires some "damage limitation." But it is also a time to reflect on the need to move beyond emissions trading at the heart of EU climate policy. There are many ways to achieve this: http://corporateeurope.org/climate-and-energy/2014/01/life-beyond-emissi...

A revised Emissions Trading Directive is like red meat for the hungry pack of lobbyists that work the corridors of Brussels’ political institutions. Even minor differences in how pollution permits are handed out can result in profits or savings of millions of euros to big polluters.

A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

José Manuel Barroso's move to Goldman Sachs has catapulted the EU’s revolving door problem onto the political agenda. It is symbolic of the excessive corporate influence at the highest levels of the EU.

Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth and LobbyControl today wrote to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, calling on him to investigate Angelika Nieber MEP over a possible conflict of interest.

CEO presents some first reflections on the UK's vote for Brexit.

 
 
 
 
 
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