Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Cooking the planet

Big Energy's year of privileged access to Europe's climate commissioners

One year on from the appointment of Cañete and Šefčovič, Corporate Europe Observatory takes a look at who the commissioners responsible for climate and energy policies are meeting, and finds Big Energy dominating the agenda.

Cooking the planet since 2014
Cooking the planet since 2014

According to data extracted from the Commission itself, 80 per cent of the meetings of European Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate and Energy, and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union, were with the private sector. Big Energy dominated, including many of those companies most responsible for cooking the climate: in the last year, three quarters of the encounters with the energy industry to discuss climate and energy policies were with fossil fuel companies.

This privileged access is reflected in the Commission’s policies, from the direction of the Energy Union as it locks in fossil fuel infrastructure, to the watering down of the EU’s climate ambitions. Yet climate science confirms that we need to leave at least 80 per cent of fossil fuels in the ground in order to avoid runaway climate change. The window of opportunity for preventing climate catastrophe is in the next ten years, and it can only be avoided by drastically cutting emissions, increasing real renewables, and dramatically improving energy efficiency. A year into this Commission, we are going in the opposite direction.

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A new report on carbon market reform has kicked off debate on the issue in the European Parliament. It promises new loopholes for the oil industry and other polluters.

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 rare glimpse into the lobbying strategies of the car industry.

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