BUSINESS Polluting multinationals ‘enjoying key access to climate policymakers’
MULTINATIONAL firms such as BP and E.ON have been enjoying privileged access to key European climate policymakers, according to a new report.
Lobbyists for private energy firms and fossil-fuel industries accounted for more than four out of five meetings held by controversial EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Cañete, and Maros Sefcovic, vice- president for the EU’s Energy Union, in the year since they came to power.
One in three meetings were with BP and German- based energy firm, E.ON, the main lobbyists with 15 meetings each, according to Corporate European Observatory, a transparency group.
By contrast, the officials held six meetings with renewable-energy associations and neither recorded a single meeting with an exclusively renewable energy firm.
Critics claim the levels of access enjoyed by the fossilfuel industry helps explain why the EU is putting forward “timid and insufficient policies” that mainly benefit these firms ahead of important climate negotiations in Paris this month.
Belen Balanya said: “This data is extremely worrying given the sensitive topics these commissioners have been in charge of over the past year. Industry-friendly policies on car emissions, energy union, the Emissions Trading Scheme, and the upcoming Paris climate negotiations clearly reflect the disturbing level of access to decisionmakers enjoyed by dirty energy. While the science says we must urgently cut greenhouse gas emissions, boost renewables, and dramatically increase energy efficiency, the commission is moving in the opposite direction.”
The report says neither official is close to meeting EC President Claude Juncker’s promise for “balance and representativeness” in the people and groups they meet.
“Civil society groups such as NGOs and trade unions were met far more often in larger groups than business groups, who enjoyed more one-to-one contact with the commission’s highest level officials,” Balanya said. “They should be reconsidering whether it is appropriate at all to meet the most polluting companies to discuss climate and energy policies. Those causing the problem should not be deciding how we fix it.”
The report calls for the prevention of fossil- fuel firms influencing climate and energy policy in the same way tobacco firms were excluded from health policy.
A spokeswoman for the Climate and Energy Commissioner declined to comment.
Cañete, a former Spanish politician, is a controversial figure with family ties to the oil industry. As Spain’s former Environment Minister, he brought fracking under national control to bypass regional fracking bans, critics say. – The Independent