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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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.

The official EU assessment of glyphosate was based on unpublished studies owned by industry. Seven months later, the pesticide industry still fights disclosure and, so far, successfully. We obtained a copy of their arguments.

While CEO is not taking a position on the UK referendum, many of our publications are relevant to those who will have a vote, or those who are following the debate.

Biodiversity collapse, the future of agriculture, politics versus science, EU States and the European Commission shifting blame on each other, industry's capture of the regulatory process through data secrecy, a Commissioner caught between Juncker, EU States, lobby groups, and his own services... The glyphosate saga, coming to the end of its first phase tomorrow, has been an entry point into many broader problems. Overview.

The European Commission proposal on scientific criteria defining endocrine disruptors (EDCs) is the latest dangerous outgrowth of a highly toxic debate. The chemical lobby, supported by certain Commission factions (notably DG SANTE and the Secretary-General) and some member states (UK and Germany), has put significant obstacles in the way of effective public health and environment regulation.

The corporate lobby tour