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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The International Civil Aviation Organization is expected to agree a new climate deal at its current assembly meeting. But its promise of “carbon neutral” flying through voluntary carbon offsetting is delusive, posing new threats to the environment and communities.

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...

CETA is a sweeping trade deal restricting public policy options in areas as diverse as intellectual property rights, government procurement, food safety, financial regulation, the temporary movement of workers, domestic regulation and public services, to name just a few of the topics explored in this analysis.
The International Civil Aviation Organization is expected to agree a new climate deal at its current assembly meeting. But its promise of “carbon neutral” flying through voluntary carbon offsetting is delusive, posing new threats to the environment and communities.

Ahead of the Commission's proposal for a new ‘mandatory’ lobby transparency register, CEO takes a look at the summary of the public consultation on the subject: civil society's call for better transparency systems faces the spin of corporate lobby groups and trade associations, which appear to promote transparency values but recommend limited implementation, loopholes and toothless management.

CEO's reaction to the the Bahamas leaks, which revealed ex-EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes' offshore links.

 
 
 
 
 
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