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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.
The EU Emissions Trading System has failed to reduce emissions, but that hasn’t stopped the Commission from pushing other countries into using carbon markets.
Companies that profit from polluting and have a vested interest in the continued exploitation of fossil fuels have no place influencing talks designed to move us away from dirty energy.
New research by Global Justice Now and Corporate Europe Observatory shows that 91 per cent of meetings held by UK trade ministers (from October 2016 to June 2017) and 70 per cent of meetings held by UK Brexit ministers have been with business, too often big business interests. This corporate bias in ministerial access is part of an ongoing trend that we have previously highlighted for both Brexit and trade ministers.
As we head towards 2018, it's important to take stock of some of this year’s highlights in our fight against the corporate capture of democracy.
Corporate Europe Observatory has started a new workstream to publish investigations which expose corporate lobby influence over the decision-making of the Council of the EU (member states) and how this impacts on resulting laws and policies. This is one of murkiest and least-known aspects of EU decision-making.
It took president Juncker over a year to propose new ethics rules for Commissioners after ex-President Barroso had shocked Europe with his new job at Goldman Sachs. A year of inaction later, the Commission is now in a hurry to implement a lackluster reform.