Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Europe cannot drill its way to a low-carbon economy, say climate justice groups

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

The European Union (EU) and their national governments are set to discuss increased shale gas extraction in Europe which will increase environmental and social harm as well as dangerous climate change 

PRESS RELEASE BY A COALITION OF ORGANISATIONS. See the list at the end

Brussels, May 21, 2013. - EU leaders will meet tomorrow (May 22nd) to discuss how to lower energy prices and this way ‘improve’ European industrial competitiveness1. However, the undersigned organisations warn that beneath the rhetoric of boosting growth, productivity and employment, lies the intention of furthering fossil fuel extraction including shale gas.

Climate justice groups urge the EU and the national governments to implement energy transition policies towards post-fossil and post-nuclear economies. As Maxime Combes from ATTAC France says, ”EU governments and institutions are not considering the growing resistance of communities in Europe against new explorations of fossil fuels, and in particular of unconventional sources such as shale gas and of techniques such as hydro-fracking. France and Bulgaria have already put up a ban
that prohibits such exploration and practices in their territories.”

Groups also denounce efforts by BusinessEurope and other powerful corporate lobby groups, to pressure the Commission to radically shift the EU's energy policy away from climate change mitigation towards polluting industry-friendly cost-competitiveness and supply security2.

As Tom Kucharz from Ecologistas en Acción, Spain says, “by focusing to “secure” more energy technologies like hydro-fracking, these policies would obscure increasing inequalities linked to fossil fuel extraction, divert attention from the real need to slow global warming and further dead end policies linked to the carbon market”.

The hype surrounding shale gas in Europe follows the US shale gas boom. However, a closer look reveals its shaky foundations that side-line health and the environment, and is reliant on unsustainably low prices driven by speculation and industry overestimates3.

“A hard look at the historical production from shale gas wells in the US shows that unconventional gas cannot provide a long-lasting – never mind environmentally sustainable – answer to European low-carbon energy needs”, says Geert De Cock from Food & Water Watch Europe. “Europe cannot
drill its way to decarbonisation by 2050”.

If Europe and its member states are serious about addressing energy issues, they should move away from further extractivism and from market fixes that only increase the climate and energy crises as well as social conflicts - in Europe and beyond its borders - where severe environmental and human rights violations are taking place.
In this regard, the “Time to Scrap the ETS” declaration4, signed by over 140 organizations and groups around the world, also calls for policies and action to transform the EU’s energy infrastructure and an end to the industrial use of fossil fuels. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has been an obstacle for this transition as it allows and subsidizes dirty energy.

Photo by wcn247

Organizations

Aliança RECOs – Redes de Cooperação Comunitária Sem Fronteiras, Brazil
ATTAC, France
Carbon Trade Watch
Centre for Civil Society, Durban, South Africa
Centro de Referência do Movimento da Cidadania pelas águas florestas e Montanhas Iguassu ITEREI, Brazil
Ciel Voilé, France
Corner House, UK
Corporate Europe Observatory
Earth Peoples
Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
EcoNexus, UK
FERN
Food and Water Watch Europe
Green Cross Society, Ukraine
Indian Social Action Forum, India
Indigenous Environmental Network
ITEREI- Refúgio Particular de Animais Nativos, Brazil
JA!Justiça Ambiental (Friends of the Earth), Mozambique
Jubilee South - Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD)
Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth), France
Movimento Mulheres pela P@Z!, Brazil
Observatori del Deute en la Globalització (ODG)
Ongd AFRICANDO, Spain
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Phillipines
Philippine Network on Climate Change, Philippines
Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo
Re: Common, Italy
Sanlakas Philippines
School of Democratic Economics
Taller Ecologista, Argentina
Terræ Organização da Sociedade Civil, Brazil
Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa
Transnational Institute
VZW CLIMAXI, Belgium
Woodland League, Ireland

Related issues: 
 

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.
The new LobbyFacts website allows EU lobby register data to be sorted, compared, ranked and analysed and exposes extent of lobbying in Brussels.
Attac Austria and Corporate Europe Observatory are today launching new 'wanted posters' about prospective members of the new European Commission, to expose details of their corporate backgrounds or other aspects of their careers which make them unsuitable to act as commissioner and promote the interests of 500 million European citizens.
As part of her inquiry into the Commission's implementation of UN tobacco lobby rules, European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has asked Commission President Barroso for “a supplementary opinion” with proper answers to questions raised in her inquiry. O'Reilly took this step after having received a seriously unconvincing letter from Barroso that fails to address the specific questions and arguments put forward by CEO in the complaint that sparked the Ombudsman's inquiry.
As MEPs prepare to quiz Jonathan Hill again, the UK commissioner-designate allocated the portfolio of financial services, and Hill refuses to answer MEPs' question about his former financial lobby clients, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) exposes further information about Hill's career as a lobbyist.

Corporate Europe Forum