air pollution

Big Oil and Gas spent over 250 million euros lobbying the EU

New research reveals that since 2010, just five oil and gas corporations and their fossil fuel lobby groups have spent at least a quarter of a billion euros buying influence at the heart of European decision-making.

The world’s five big oil and gas majors and their lobbyists have spent at least 251 million euros lobbying the EU since 2010, new research reveals [1] – as almost 200 civil society organisations demand fossil free politics. [2]

Investigations show that BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total – the world’s five biggest publicly-traded oil and gas companies – and their lobby associations, currently employ 200 lobbyists in Brussels. They have held 327 high level meetings with top European Commission officials since European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took office in 2014. That is the equivalent of more than one meeting a week to influence EU climate and energy decision-making.

The research was commissioned by Corporate Europe Observatory, Food & Water Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, and Greenpeace EU, as part of a campaign calling for ‘fossil free politics’, supported by organisations in Brussels, Europe and worldwide. [3] The data was obtained from companies’ own declarations in the EU’s lobby transparency register and European Commissioners’ published calendars of meetings. [4]

As fossil fuel companies face increasing scrutiny, [5] the groups call on the European Commission’s new President and Commissioners, MEPs, and governments to cut fossil fuel interests out of politics, with restrictions similar to those on tobacco industry lobbyists. [6]

Fossil fuel industry lobbyists in Brussels and national capitals have, according to the groups, succeeded in delaying, weakening, and sabotaging EU action on the climate emergency – having watered down renewable energy, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas targets, while securing lucrative fossil fuel subsidies. This lobbying effort has helped contribute to the top five oil and gas companies’ US$82 billion in profits last year. Those same companies were responsible for 7.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions between 1988 and 2015.

Pascoe Sabido, researcher and campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory said:

Big polluters like Shell, BP and their lobby groups have delayed, weakened and sabotaged EU action on the climate emergency thanks to their hefty lobby spending. A cool quarter of a billion over the last decade buys a lot of access and influence in Brussels.”

Frida Kieninger, campaign officer for Food & Water Europe said:

Having tobacco lobbyists negotiating our public health laws is unthinkable today - and that's just how we must treat fossil fuel lobbyists. Ending private meetings, cosy events and revolving doors can shut vested fossil fuel interests out of policy-making on the climate crisis."

Myriam Douo, corporate capture campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said:

Gas, oil and coal companies are spending millions to maintain their stranglehold on our politics and our energy. But the climate can no longer afford their delay tactics. We must listen to the millions of young climate protesters on our streets and cut fossil fuels out of our politics now.”

Sebastian Mang, climate policy adviser for Greenpeace EU said:

Big oil and big gas are causing death and destruction in exchange for eye-watering profits. But millions of people are calling them out, as they face trial for their role in fuelling the climate emergency and trampling on human rights. It’s time our governments hold them to account.”

For more information, contact:

Pascoe Sabido, Researcher and Campaigner | (+44) (0)7969 665 189

Notes to editors:

[1] Briefing on the research, infographics, and civil society statement can be found here.

[2] 189 civil society organisations support a statement declaring “we need a firewall that protects our democratic institutions and our decision-making from fossil fuel industry interference: no more private lobby meetings, partnerships or collaboration.”

[3] Fossil free politics website:

[4] Companies’ declarations of spending on lobbying in Brussels are voluntary and likely to underestimate real costs.

[5] BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and other oil and gas companies are facing increasing scrutiny:

[6] The WHO’s framework convention on tobacco control includes measures to restrict tobacco industry lobbying

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