COP21

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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.

There is a diplomatic silence over carbon trading at COP21, but a Paris climate agreement could offer a lifeline to carbon “offsetting” schemes, while new rules could help build a global carbon market.

Lobby Planet 2017 banner

The plastics industry mounted a significant lobby campaign to influence the European Commission’s recent Plastics Strategy. Industry is now seeking to unpick or undermine key elements of the strategy through lacklustre or non-existing voluntary commitments, or outright opposition. With the Commission likely to publish its proposal to tackle single-use plastic products any day, will it adopt an ambitious approach towards binding regulations on industry?

Following the Cambridge Analytica affair and the massive leak of 87 million people’s data revealed earlier this year, Facebook is facing unprecedented scrutiny of its business model. Regulators must stop treating the social media giant as a trusted partner and better protecting EU citizens' digital rights.

In May 2017, the global biotech and seed industry lobby groups landed in Budapest for their annual congress. They launched a joint campaign with one key goal: to get governments worldwide to adopt a zero-regulation approach to new genetic modification (GM) techniques, often termed gene-editing techniques. The seed industry magazine SeedWorld stated that the timing of this international campaign is critical “as policymakers and governments around the world discuss plant breeding innovations, and if and how they should be regulated”.

Thanks to bottom-up pressure the European Union stepped back from supporting Trump and his big polluters’ agenda, but fell short of backing calls for a conflict of interest policy at the UN climate talks.