Corporate Europe Observatory has investigated the influence of corporate lobbying on EU climate policy and lift the lid on something the corporate media generally refuses to discuss in any real depth.
Articles produced by CEO are important because the mainstream media no longer informs the public, it in fact misleads them, yet an informed public is essential for making informed decisions and for the safe and proper functioning of society.
Setting out their stall
CEO's recent work exposing big business and dirty industry's lobbying and greenwashing at the EU and UNFCCC levels is part of the mounting evidence for why we must kick big polluters out of climate policy-making. 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. At the UN talks on tobacco control they kicked big tobacco out of public health policy-making at the international and national level. The same needs to happen for climate. Today, this is a call repeated by activists at COP21, and by hundreds of thousands of people around the world in a petition to kick #BigPollutersOut, being handed to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.
EU policy-makers in bed with polluters: Corporate capture starts at home, with the privileged access and excessive industry influence over national governments and EU climate policy-making. The capture of the UN climate system, of COP21 and its predecessors, is a logical result of things going wrong at national and EU levels. In Brussels, CEO has shown time after time how the game is fixed – dirty energy and polluting industries are in bed with EU policy makers, but their cosy relationship is costing the earth. ...For every meeting the Commissioner for Climate, Miguel Arias Cañete, had with the renewable energy industry he had 22 with the fossil fuel industry...
Another reason why the interests of those who are supposed to be representing the public interest (i.e. the regulators) and those who are profiting from polluting (i.e. the regulated) have become so blurred is the revolving door between big energy and the EU institutions. Staff taking their knowledge and contacts built up in the public sector to lobby on behalf of private commercial interests (and vice versa), as another recent CEO expose demonstrates. This all-too-cosy relationship is partly why the EU clings to its failed flagship climate policy, the Emission's Trading Scheme (ETS), a carbon market that has enriched polluters, failed to reduce domestic emissions and blocked more effective climate policies. It is clear that for ambitious and fair climate policies to come from the EU, policy-making must be safeguarded from the vested interests of polluters.
Kick the polluters out: In order to take action to avoid climate catastrophe in a fair and peaceful way, we must end the insidious influence of polluters. Short term profit-oriented corporations whose business models structurally require them to pollute, to burn fossil fuels, or to encourage endless growth and consumption regardless of the effects on people or planet, should not be setting the agenda. The mosquito doesn't get an invite to the anti-malaria conference, the arsonist isn't accepted into fire department, and the tobacco company is not welcome at public health meetings. In fact, tobacco companies are not – by law – allowed anywhere near public-health policy-making, because it is recognised that there is an irreconcilable conflict of interest between their goals: reducing use of, and harm from, tobacco vs selling more tobacco products.
The same irreconcilable conflict applies to the goals of climate policy-makers and polluting industries: rapidly reducing emissions vs profiting from polluting business models. Yet the companies that have made millions from bringing us to the brink of global disaster have artfully positioned themselves as part of the solution. CEO's work exposing the reality behind the greenwash and the undue influence of polluting industries, helps demonstrate why polluters should not get a seat at the table. To protect climate policy from vested interests, the UNFCCC should learn from the UN World Health Organisation (WHO)'s tobacco treaty. Following decades of misinformation and manipulation, a civil society campaign rooted in the global south took on big tobacco (and the governments advocating on its behalf) in the early 2000s