Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Lobby for industrial gas offset ban

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

A new report by Corporate Europe Observatory details how industry lobbied allies within DG Enterprise, to delay DG Clima's plans to ban dodgy offsets from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Industrial gas projects currently account for more than 80% of the credits bought by European polluters to offset carbon emissions under the EU ETS. But evidence suggests that many of them do not infact represent extra cuts in emissions.

Laughing all the way to the (carbon offset) bank, documents how BusinessEurope, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), chemical lobby group CEFIC and energy companies, including Enel, lobbied DG Enterprise to sabotage DG Clima's proposals 1. They pushed to delay the ban until the end of April 2013 – increasing the number of credits available to meet targets in the second phase of the EU ETS.

As a result, power companies and other heavy polluters will be able to benefit from as many as 100 million extra carbon credits, ensuring the price of offsetting in the second phase of the EU ETS remains low.

In a letter to DG Enterprise, energy company Enel said the delay would mean an extra 20 million credits for the company, “with a signicant value”. Enel has interests in seven accredited industrial gas projects removing the refrigerant by-product HFC-23, so profits from selling credits, as well as relying on the offsets to meet its own emissions targets.

Corporate Europe Observatory's climate researcher Belén Balanyá said:

“Dodgy cheap offsets generated from industrial gas projects have helped Europe's polluting industries meet their carbon targets under the Emissions Trading System while avoiding the kind of structural changes that are needed to ensure domestic reductions. What is very disturbing is that they can rely on the help of their friends in DG Enterprise to sabotage the environmental legislation that does not fit their narrow commercial interests.”

The documents obtained by CEO show that BusinessEurope relied on a former Commission insider to make their case, channelling their demands for a delay through a staff member who had joined BusinessEurope from the Commission. Marten Westrup spent three years working at DG Enterprise before taking on the role of Advisor to the Industrial Affairs Committee at BusinessEurope.

Although the ban will in principle reduce the amount of offsets available, it is part of a plan to expand carbon markets by moving towards “sectoral crediting”. DG Clima has admitted that the banned industrial gas offsets may become eligible in future as part of sectoral credits, which may be agreed bilaterally 2 .

Contact:
Belén Balanyá, Corporate Europe Observatory, belen@corporateeurope.org, tel: +31 633 090 386

Related issues: 
 

Polluters in Peru blog

In the face of a disastrous Lima Outcome for local communities, their environments and the climate, many of the climate justice groups attending COP20 released a joint statement in response to what countries had agreed to, as well setting our own agenda.
The UN climate talks in Lima, COP20, have had the pervasive influence of business all over them. Yet despite this, business is still not happy with the influence it has on the talks and wants a greater role.
As the UN climate talks – COP20 – wrap up in Lima, CEO took part in a press conference to reflect on what two weeks of negotiations mean for climate justice and the road to Paris. Organised by the Institute of Climate Action and Theory, CEO was joined by with Michael Dorsey (board member of Sierra Club) and Jagoda Munic (Chair of Friends of the Earth International).
After thousands marched through Lima demanding climate justice, hundreds then crossed town for a mass non-violent direct action against the multitude of corporate lobbyists gathered at the Hilton Hotel: not just one of the city's most expensive hotels but the host of the World Climate Summit.
A new draft EU directive currently looked at by the European Parliament wants to protect companies' "trade secrets", but uses definitions so large and exceptions so weak that it could seriously endanger the work of journalists, whistle-blowers, unionists and researchers as well as severely limiting corporate accountability. We publish a joint statement together with several other groups for the directive to be radically amended.
In the face of a disastrous Lima Outcome for local communities, their environments and the climate, many of the climate justice groups attending COP20 released a joint statement in response to what countries had agreed to, as well setting our own agenda.
The UN climate talks in Lima, COP20, have had the pervasive influence of business all over them. Yet despite this, business is still not happy with the influence it has on the talks and wants a greater role.
As the UN climate talks – COP20 – wrap up in Lima, CEO took part in a press conference to reflect on what two weeks of negotiations mean for climate justice and the road to Paris. Organised by the Institute of Climate Action and Theory, CEO was joined by with Michael Dorsey (board member of Sierra Club) and Jagoda Munic (Chair of Friends of the Earth International).

Alternative Trade Mandate

Corporate Europe Forum