Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

  • Dansk
  • NL
  • EN
  • FI
  • FR
  • DE
  • EL
  • IT
  • NO
  • PL
  • PT
  • RO
  • SL
  • ES
  • SV

Activists call out false climate solutions in Paris

Hundreds of activists took part in an action today to denounce the false solutions peddled by corporations in Paris during COP21.

Inside the Grand Palais, currently host to the corporate-expo 'Solutions COP21', an unauthorised 'toxic tour' was organised to expose the polluting reality behind many of the event's sponsors, including Engie, Avril Sofiproteol and Suez Environment. Many creative and peaceful actions also took place inside and outside the event.

Many were refused entry, but those on the tour heard testimonies from communities fighting the companies in their respective countries, peeling back the greenwash on display at Solutions COP21 and exposing their destructive business practices.

Tour guides, participants and many journalists were kettled by police and security and forcibly removed.

“Peaceful and creative actions, including a sit-in at the exhibit of coal and gas-giant Engie, has wrecked the opening day for companies pushing false solutions, but for those fighting them on the front lines and all those standing in solidarity, it was a huge success,” said Pascoe Sabido of Corporate Europe Observatory.

While COP21 negotiations continue on the issue of funding for adaptation in developing countries, fossil fuel companies who receive billions in public subsidies and divert money from energy transition projects towards their tax havens, are parading false solutions to climate change at the Grand Palais expo centre in Paris.

“The likes of Engie, Avril Sofiproteol, Coca Cola and Renault-Nissan have paid thousands to be in the Grand Palais as they think it's the best way to greenwash their polluting ways while continuing with business as usual. There's no way big corporations are part of solution. Real solutions are already being implemented by communities on the ground,” said Ronja Heise, of Corporate Europe Observatory.

**video footage and photos available on demand**


Pascoe Sabido - +33 644 22 54 71

Ronja Heise - +33 644 22 53 24

Related issues: 

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:

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 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.

Never before has a former European Commission official been criticised as much for his post-EU career as ex-Commission president Barroso upon joining infamous US investment bank Goldman Sachs this summer. Citizens are outraged and evidence already points towards a gross violation of the EU Treaty.

Following the high-level appointment of former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to Goldman Sachs, NGOs have launched a petition demanding stricter rules for ex-EU commissioners’ revolving door moves.

Corporate Europe Observatory's new report 'A spoonful of sugar' illustrates how the sugar lobby undermines existing laws and fights off much-needed measures that are vital for tackling Europe’s looming obesity crisis.

-- placeholder --

The corporate lobby tour