Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Letting the market play

'Letting the market play - corporate lobbying and the financial regulation of carbon trading' examines the reforms being proposed to regulate carbon trading following a series of frauds, and looks at the role of the corporate lobbies in trying to influence this process.

  • Dansk
  • Nederlands
  • English
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Ελληνικά
  • Italiano
  • Bokmål
  • Polski
  • Portuguese
  • Română
  • Slovenščina
  • Español
  • Svenska

This report outlines a series of reforms to the regulation of carbon trading in response to fraud and the financial crisis, and financial sector efforts to disrupt them. It shows that:

- The European Commission adopted a deliberately light touch approach to regulating its Emissions Trading System since its launch in 2005. A series of fraud cases made this position untenable.

- The Commission has proposed measures to tighten security, which was previously so lax that it was easier to become a carbon trader than to open a bank account. However, the new rules would also cover-up evidence of fraud and gaming by hiding carbon permit serial numbers. The Commission’s intention is to re-issue stolen permits, opening an additional hole in the scheme’s accounting for emissions.

- The Commission has belatedly identified carbon as a commodity that is susceptible to excessive speculation. Leaked drafts of the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), a set of rules governing European financial markets, are set to be extended to include carbon trading.

- New regulations on carbon trading have been consistently opposed by financial services lobbyists. For example, in January 2011, the European Commission halted trading on a key part of the carbon market after the latest in a series of large fraud cases was uncovered. Less than a month later and with the suspension still partly in place, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA, the main carbon trade lobby group) were privately insisting to Brussels officials that “there might be no need to regulate this market.” This report documents how financial sector lobbying has been driven by a desire to find new opportunities for carbon market speculation by whatever means are necessary.

- Although the lobbyists look to be losing some of these battles, plenty of loopholes remain in the financial regulation of the carbon market. More fundamentally, emissions trading introduces speculation by design and has failed to meet its stated objectives. There is a need to de-financinalise climate policy.

Read the full report here.

Attached files: 
This report outlines a series of reforms to the regulation of carbon trading in response to fraud and the financial crisis, and financial sector efforts to disrupt them. It shows that:- The European Commission adopted a deliberately light touch approach to regulating its Emissions Trading System since its launch in 2005. A series of fraud cases made this position untenable.- The Commission has proposed measures to tighten security, which was previously so lax that it was easier to become a carbon trader than to open a bank account. However, the new rules would also cover-up evidence of fraud and gaming by hiding carbon permit serial numbers. The Commission’s intention is to re-issue stolen permits, opening an additional hole in the scheme’s accounting for emissions.- The Commission has belatedly identified carbon as a commodity that is susceptible to excessive speculation. Leaked drafts of the Market in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), a set of rules governing European financial markets, are set to be extended to include carbon trading.- New regulations on carbon trading have been consistently opposed by financial services lobbyists. For example, in January 2011, the European Commission halted trading on a key part of the carbon market after the latest in a series of large fraud cases was uncovered. Less than a month later and with the suspension still partly in place, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA, the main carbon trade lobby group) were privately insisting to Brussels officials that “there might be no need to regulate this market.” This report documents how financial sector lobbying has been driven by a desire to find new opportunities for carbon market speculation by whatever means are necessary.- Although the lobbyists look to be losing some of these battles, plenty of loopholes remain in the financial regulation of the carbon market. More fundamentally, emissions trading introduces speculation by design and has failed to meet its stated objectives. There is a need to de-financinalise climate policy.Read the full report here.
Partner organisation: 
 

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.
Here are some examples of the blurry line between private business and public office that have characterised the Spanish nominee for the Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Arias Cañete’s career.
This must-watch film is now online. The film shows how corporations and actors within the Commission are teaming up to demolish a major piece of public health legislation.
CEO is looking for an experienced, French-speaking campaigner to join our team and strengthen our work on the EU-US trade and investment deal (TTIP). This position is a full time (36 hours per week) temporary position for one year.
Karmenu Vella is a Maltese politician and the country's nominee to be European commissioner, responsible for environment, maritime and fisheries. He has been a member of the Maltese parliament since 1976, but that hasn't prevented him from also holding a variety of external business roles at the same time including within the gambling industry. CEO now argues that these recent outside interests make him unsuitable to be a commissioner.

Corporate Europe Forum