Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Carte blanche for fracking

How the European Commission’s new advisory group is letting the shale gas industry set the agenda

The Commission is talking up its climate ambition on the road to the Paris UN climate talks. But a new briefing shows that its advisory group on shale gas is opening the back door to fracking, despite massive public opposition. 

For the full report, please click here.

The newly created “European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction” (or Network) is supposed to assess current projects, as well as recommend which technologies are appropriate and safe enough for Europe. Unfortunately for the public, the majority of its members (including those from industry, academia and other research bodies) have a clear financial stake in the expansion of fracking and are in no position to objectively assess its safety. Moreover, many have aggressively lobbied for weaker safety rules.

The Network is composed of 74 members, 14 of whom work for the European Commission. Of the 60 that do not:

  • Fewer than 10% of members are from civil society
  • More than 70% of members either represent or have financial links to the fracking industry; two-thirds of academics and research organisations involved have links to the fracking industry.
  • All five working group chairs are fracking proponents, and some have even lobbied against stronger safety rules

This conflict of interest is not only jeopardising public safety and the climate, but also citizens’ faith in the European Commission being able to put their interests before industry profit. Given the public opposition to fracking in Europe and the well-documented associated environmental problems, the European Commission should not listen to a lobby that wants to move the goalposts from asking not “if” Europe wants fracking, but “how”.

The European Commission should seriously question whether the privileged access enjoyed by companies causing climate change is conflicting with the public interest, and therefore whether the Network should be scrapped.

For the full report, please click here.

**UPDATE: SINCE PUBLISHING THE REPORT, IT HAS COME TO LIGHT THAT THERE ARE ONLY FOUR, RATHER THAN FIVE CHAIRS, AS CONOCOPHILLIPS IS NOT A CHAIR**

For the full report, please click here.The newly created “European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction” (or Network) is supposed to assess current projects, as well as recommend which technologies are appropriate and safe enough for Europe. Unfortunately for the public, the majority of its members (including those from industry, academia and other research bodies) have a clear financial stake in the expansion of fracking and are in no position to objectively assess its safety. Moreover, many have aggressively lobbied for weaker safety rules.The Network is composed of 74 members, 14 of whom work for the European Commission. Of the 60 that do not:Fewer than 10% of members are from civil societyMore than 70% of members either represent or have financial links to the fracking industry; two-thirds of academics and research organisations involved have links to the fracking industry.All five working group chairs are fracking proponents, and some have even lobbied against stronger safety rulesThis conflict of interest is not only jeopardising public safety and the climate, but also citizens’ faith in the European Commission being able to put their interests before industry profit. Given the public opposition to fracking in Europe and the well-documented associated environmental problems, the European Commission should not listen to a lobby that wants to move the goalposts from asking not “if” Europe wants fracking, but “how”.The European Commission should seriously question whether the privileged access enjoyed by companies causing climate change is conflicting with the public interest, and therefore whether the Network should be scrapped.For the full report, please click here.**UPDATE: SINCE PUBLISHING THE REPORT, IT HAS COME TO LIGHT THAT THERE ARE ONLY FOUR, RATHER THAN FIVE CHAIRS, AS CONOCOPHILLIPS IS NOT A CHAIR**
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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.

Less than 18 months into the job, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete is immersed in several scandals.

First CJA meeting post-COP21 ; Premier réunion CJA post-COP21

Canadian company TransCanada wants to sue the US for over US$15 billion in compensation - because President Obama rejected the contested Keystone XL oil pipeline. Another warning sign for extreme corporate rights in EU trade deals such as TTIP and CETA.

An Open Letter to Heads of State and Government of the European Union

You have probably never heard of AMISA2. But it turns out that AMISA2 and its predecessor AMISA have had staggeringly regular high-level access to senior EU decision-makers for decades. It is a quiet but persistent presence operating in the shadows of the Brussels bubble.

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.

Read our submission to the EU lobby transparency register consultation and find out why the present, voluntary system just isn't enough.

The corporate lobby tour

Stop the Crop

Alternative Trade Mandate