November 17th 2015Climate and energy
You would be forgiven for believing that the corporate world has had a change of heart and is now sticking to a strictly climate-friendly diet. Embracing low-carbon natural gas, a global carbon price, ‘net-zero emissions by the end of the century’ or ‘climate-smart agriculture’ are top of the menu. But peel back the PR and you reveal a business-as-usual recipe guaranteed to cook the planet.
In the run up to the Paris climate summit Corporate Europe Observatory examines Big Energy's access to European Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate and Energy, and Maros Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union, in the year since they took office. According to data extracted from the Commission itself, 80% of their meetings were with the private sector. Big Energy dominated, including many of those most responsible for cooking the climate: three quarters of the encounters with the energy industry to discuss climate and energy policies that have taken place in the last year were with fossil fuel companies.
One in three (9 out of 26) outgoing commissioners who left office in 2014 have gone through the 'revolving door' into roles in corporations or other organisations with links to big business, leading to fears of an unhealthily close relationship between the EU's executive body and private interests. In our view, at least eight revolving door roles, held by four commissioners, should not have received authorisation at all, due to the risk of possible conflicts of interest.