Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Climate Crash in Strasbourg

Climate Crash in Strasbourg - how the aviation industry undermined the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading SchemeIn October 2008 EU member states finally approved a deal which will bring aviation into the emissions trading scheme. The agreement follows three years of deliberations, yet despite the apparent commitment by the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it will make little difference to the level of emissions from the aviation sector. How did this happen? How the aviation industry undermined the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

In October 2008 EU member states finally approved a deal which will bring aviation into the emissions trading scheme. The agreement follows three years of deliberations, yet despite the apparent commitment by the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it will make little difference to the level of emissions from the aviation sector. How did this happen?

The European Commission initially proposed including CO2 emissions from aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2005 in an attempt to curb international emissions from planes — currently unregulated by the Kyoto Protocol. A three-year lobbying battle began in Brussels and soon extended internationally. The aviation industry, led by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Association of European Airlines (AEA), played a leading role with their campaigns to fight or hijack the scheme in their interests.

Throughout this period, the European Parliament stuck to strict measures strengthening the rather weak Commission’s proposal, while the Council defended a less ambitious position. But MEPs finally bowed down in a deal with the Council brokered in June 2008.

The deal was a real setback for the Parliament and the climate because it allows emissions from planes will continue growing dramatically in the future instead of being stabilised or reduced. According to the terms of the deal and the corresponding scenario considered in an impact assessment carried out for the Commission, the reduction in emissions achieved by 2020 will be the equivalent of just one year’s growth in air travel under a “business as usual” scenario.

As this report shows, there were many reasons for the climb down by the Parliament – political pressure from inside the EU for a quick agreement, international political pressure from the US and other third countries and, predominantly, industry pressure from both inside and beyond the EU.

In October 2008 EU member states finally approved a deal which will bring aviation into the emissions trading scheme. The agreement follows three years of deliberations, yet despite the apparent commitment by the EU to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it will make little difference to the level of emissions from the aviation sector. How did this happen? The European Commission initially proposed including CO2 emissions from aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in 2005 in an attempt to curb international emissions from planes — currently unregulated by the Kyoto Protocol. A three-year lobbying battle began in Brussels and soon extended internationally. The aviation industry, led by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Association of European Airlines (AEA), played a leading role with their campaigns to fight or hijack the scheme in their interests. Throughout this period, the European Parliament stuck to strict measures strengthening the rather weak Commission’s proposal, while the Council defended a less ambitious position. But MEPs finally bowed down in a deal with the Council brokered in June 2008. The deal was a real setback for the Parliament and the climate because it allows emissions from planes will continue growing dramatically in the future instead of being stabilised or reduced. According to the terms of the deal and the corresponding scenario considered in an impact assessment carried out for the Commission, the reduction in emissions achieved by 2020 will be the equivalent of just one year’s growth in air travel under a “business as usual” scenario. As this report shows, there were many reasons for the climb down by the Parliament – political pressure from inside the EU for a quick agreement, international political pressure from the US and other third countries and, predominantly, industry pressure from both inside and beyond the EU.
 

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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The corporate lobby tour