Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Caught in the cross-hairs: how industry lobbyists are gunning for EU climate targets

When big business comes across EU climate targets it instinctively reaches for its big guns, unleashing CEOs and a volley of lobbyists in an attempt to avoid substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The first six months of 2011 have seen the latest round of this contest, with two policy initiatives re-opening the debate on European reduction targets. A new EP report, calling upon the EU to raise its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from 20 to 30 per cent, will be voted on at the 23 June plenary session of the European Parliament. This is a step in the right direction, although it still falls well short of what is needed to tackle climate change.

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The second initiative is the Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050, which has been proposed by the European Commission, and which will be discussed on 21 June at the inter-ministerial  environment Council. The Roadmap sets out a path for the EU to reduce its emissions by 80 to 95 per cent by 2050, but suggests a route that is littered with false “solutions” such as carbon trading, nuclear energy, agrofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS), all of which have severe social and environmental impacts.

This report by Corporate Europe Observatory and Carbon Trade Watch shows how BusinessEurope, the European employers’ confederation, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (Eurofer) have launched a bullying campaign to prevent a rise in targets and other steps. In so doing, they have counted on support from DG Enterprise, in particular. Tensions between DG Energy and DG Clima are also being exploited by the industry lobbyists in their attempts to further weaken the EU’s climate commitments.

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As many civil society groups walk back in to the UN climate talks today in Bonn after walking out last November in Warsaw [X], authors of the COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying [X], Corporate Europe Observatory, warn that unless we end the cosy relationship between political leaders and the dirty

Concerted lobbying from Europe’s dirtiest industries has resulted in the gutting of EU climate and energy proposals, it has emerged today.

They meet at birthday parties, over breakfast meetings, during cocktail receptions; so just how close are Europe’s dirtiest industries to senior politicians and regulators? And what influence is this lobbying having on the EU’s official climate change policy? These are the kind of questions we need to be asking as leaders from the 28 EU member states try to reach agreement on Europe’s climate targets for 2030. This scrutiny is particularly urgent because – as this privileged access might imply – these industries appear to have been extremely successful at watering down EU climate and energy legislation. Read the new briefing by CEO and Friends of the Earth Europe.
A trade deal between the EU and the US risks opening the backdoor for the expansion of fracking in Europe and the US, reveals a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory together with other groups. As part of the deal currently being negotiated, energy companies could be allowed to take governments to private arbitrators if they attempt to regulate or ban fracking and the dangerous exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels. Campaigners are urging the EU not to include such rights in trade deals.
The new LobbyFacts website allows EU lobby register data to be sorted, compared, ranked and analysed and exposes extent of lobbying in Brussels.
Attac Austria and Corporate Europe Observatory are today launching new 'wanted posters' about prospective members of the new European Commission, to expose details of their corporate backgrounds or other aspects of their careers which make them unsuitable to act as commissioner and promote the interests of 500 million European citizens.
As part of her inquiry into the Commission's implementation of UN tobacco lobby rules, European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has asked Commission President Barroso for “a supplementary opinion” with proper answers to questions raised in her inquiry. O'Reilly took this step after having received a seriously unconvincing letter from Barroso that fails to address the specific questions and arguments put forward by CEO in the complaint that sparked the Ombudsman's inquiry.
As MEPs prepare to quiz Jonathan Hill again, the UK commissioner-designate allocated the portfolio of financial services, and Hill refuses to answer MEPs' question about his former financial lobby clients, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) exposes further information about Hill's career as a lobbyist.

Corporate Europe Forum