Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Emission trading questioned at EU debate

The EU's emissions trading system has fundamental flaws and is failing to deliver the carbon cuts needed, campaigners told a debate in Brussels (Tuesday) ahead of the start of UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.

And an MEP warned the debate that industry lobbying was damaging the EU's position on climate change, accusing BusinessEurope of failing to represent the views of its members who are calling for tougher targets.

Bas Eickhout MEP (Green) told the debate, organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, TNI, Friends of the Earth Europe and FERN, that BusinessEurope claimed to speak on behalf of European industry but in fact represented the lowest common denominator position, effectively silencing those companies which support a 30% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020.

Oscar Reyes from Carbon Trade Watch told the debate that carbon trading system failed to require countries to take responsibility for their own emissions, allowing them to offset them by buying permits from the developing world.

He said what was needed was a change in climate finance, shifting subsidies away from fossil fuels and investing in infrastructre, non-fiscal measures, as well as a complete  transformation politically.

Damian Meadows, the Head of Unit for International Carbon Markets at DG Climate Action, said that carbon trading must not be seen as a sole solution, but putting a price on carbon was an important component.

And he defended the EU's position ahead of the Durban climate talks, saying the EU wanted a multilateral agreement – but increasing the EU's target unilaterally would not deliver action from the United States or China.

“We need broad commitments, we need a clear roadmap from Durban,” he sid.

Esther Bollendorff from Friends of the Earth Europe told the debate that the European Union must face up to its historical responsibilities by taking action first, but that it was also in the interest of European industry.

“It's in our own interest for Europe to take action to cut emissions at home, so we cannot support the Commission position to only take action if others do too,” she said.

See Bas Eickhout MEP's comments on industry lobbying on climate change here: http://vimeo.com/32621584 

The EU's emissions trading system has fundamental flaws and is failing to deliver the carbon cuts needed, campaigners told a debate in Brussels (Tuesday) ahead of the start of UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa.And an MEP warned the debate that industry lobbying was damaging the EU's position on climate change, accusing BusinessEurope of failing to represent the views of its members who are calling for tougher targets.Bas Eickhout MEP (Green) told the debate, organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, TNI, Friends of the Earth Europe and FERN, that BusinessEurope claimed to speak on behalf of European industry but in fact represented the lowest common denominator position, effectively silencing those companies which support a 30% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020.Oscar Reyes from Carbon Trade Watch told the debate that carbon trading system failed to require countries to take responsibility for their own emissions, allowing them to offset them by buying permits from the developing world.He said what was needed was a change in climate finance, shifting subsidies away from fossil fuels and investing in infrastructre, non-fiscal measures, as well as a complete  transformation politically. Damian Meadows, the Head of Unit for International Carbon Markets at DG Climate Action, said that carbon trading must not be seen as a sole solution, but putting a price on carbon was an important component.And he defended the EU's position ahead of the Durban climate talks, saying the EU wanted a multilateral agreement – but increasing the EU's target unilaterally would not deliver action from the United States or China.“We need broad commitments, we need a clear roadmap from Durban,” he sid.Esther Bollendorff from Friends of the Earth Europe told the debate that the European Union must face up to its historical responsibilities by taking action first, but that it was also in the interest of European industry.“It's in our own interest for Europe to take action to cut emissions at home, so we cannot support the Commission position to only take action if others do too,” she said.See Bas Eickhout MEP's comments on industry lobbying on climate change here: http://vimeo.com/32621584 
 

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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.

In the middle of May over 4000 people from all over Europe gathered in the Lusatia region in Eastern Germany. The plan? To block a Vattenfall-owned opencast lignite mine.

In light of the ITRE Opinion and forthcoming discussion on the proposed Directive to reform the Emissions Trading System (and “enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments”), CEO offers comments. 

Ultimately, revisions of this sort are nowhere near enough. The new ETS Directive requires some "damage limitation." But it is also a time to reflect on the need to move beyond emissions trading at the heart of EU climate policy. There are many ways to achieve this: http://corporateeurope.org/climate-and-energy/2014/01/life-beyond-emissi...

A revised Emissions Trading Directive is like red meat for the hungry pack of lobbyists that work the corridors of Brussels’ political institutions. Even minor differences in how pollution permits are handed out can result in profits or savings of millions of euros to big polluters.

A few weeks after the May coup against Dilma Rousseff by conservative parties backed by the country's largest corporations, Brazil's “interim” government, led by Michel Temer, signed an emergency loan to the State of Rio de Janeiro to help finance infrastructure for the 2016 Olympics. The bailout was conditional to selling off the State's public water supply and sanitation company, the Companhia Estadual de Águas e Esgotos (Cedae). 

When we interviewed City Councillor and chair of Rio’s Special Committee on the Water Crisis Renato Cinco, in December 2015, he was already warning against such privatisation threats and provided important background information on the water situation in Rio.

Never before has a former European Commission official been criticised as much for his post-EU career as ex-Commission president Barroso upon joining infamous US investment bank Goldman Sachs this summer. Citizens are outraged and evidence already points towards a gross violation of the EU Treaty.

Following the high-level appointment of former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso to Goldman Sachs, NGOs have launched a petition demanding stricter rules for ex-EU commissioners’ revolving door moves.

Corporate Europe Observatory's new report 'A spoonful of sugar' illustrates how the sugar lobby undermines existing laws and fights off much-needed measures that are vital for tackling Europe’s looming obesity crisis.

 
 
 
 
 
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