Cold homes, hot profits cover image

Cold homes, hot profits

How polluters persuade politicians to put profits before people

Across Europe’s capitals, fossil fuel companies and lobby groups have been pulling out all the stops to influence governments’ responses to the energy crisis, sabotaging policies that could help millions of people struggling to pay their bills. All so they can protect their staggering windfall profits (the profits of the big five oil majors’ more than doubled to $200 billion in 2022) and extend the life of their climate-wrecking business model – while people, and the planet, pay the ultimate price.

From Rome to Prague, Brussels to London, politicians are welcoming fossil fuel companies as advisers instead of arsonists, failing to recognise their vested interests and their role in creating, prolonging, and profiting from the energy crisis. 


This report from Fossil Free Politics summarises five new case studies to show how fossil fuel interests are persuading politicians around Europe to listen to polluters instead of people.

  • At the EU-level, fossil fuel lobby group the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) has lobbied – and been invited to advise – the European Commission, pushing for more fossil gas and the false solutions that justify it; advice that keeps bills high (with gas prices still more than 50 per cent above pre-Ukraine war levels) and Europe hooked on fossil fuels;


  • In Italy – where the government has appointed a fossil fuel lobbyist as an advisor – oil and gas giant ENI has used the crisis to secure more drilling and new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, (to read the full research article, click here)


  • In the Czech Republic, dirty energy giant EPH used public threats, a powerful media empire, and ties to the ruling party to delay and weaken the windfall tax on excess profits;


  • In the UK, fossil fuel lobby group Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) used its privileged access, swanky parliamentary receptions, and special advisory groups to ensure the windfall tax has been full of fatal loopholes, and could be cut short, (to read the full research article, click here);


  • In Spain, energy companies Endesa, Naturgy, and Iberdrola have used a complex web of political, legal, and PR manoeuvres – including a revolving door with Spain’s top legal civil servants – to fight measures that curb their profits and to make vulnerable families bear the financial burden instead, (to read the full research article, click here). 

Decades spent lobbying for more gas in Europe rather than shifting to renewables has kept fossil fuel companies’ pockets full, but left the continent vulnerable to high prices. We urgently need decision-makers to work for the public good rather than private interests – by kicking polluters out and bringing people in.

To read the summary report, click here

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