Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

  • Dansk
  • NL
  • EN
  • FI
  • FR
  • DE
  • EL
  • IT
  • NO
  • PL
  • PT
  • RO
  • SL
  • ES
  • SV

Lobby for industrial gas offset ban

A new report by Corporate Europe Observatory details how industry lobbied allies within DG Enterprise, to delay DG Clima's plans to ban dodgy offsets from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

Industrial gas projects currently account for more than 80% of the credits bought by European polluters to offset carbon emissions under the EU ETS. But evidence suggests that many of them do not infact represent extra cuts in emissions.

Laughing all the way to the (carbon offset) bank, documents how BusinessEurope, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), chemical lobby group CEFIC and energy companies, including Enel, lobbied DG Enterprise to sabotage DG Clima's proposals 1. They pushed to delay the ban until the end of April 2013 – increasing the number of credits available to meet targets in the second phase of the EU ETS.

As a result, power companies and other heavy polluters will be able to benefit from as many as 100 million extra carbon credits, ensuring the price of offsetting in the second phase of the EU ETS remains low.

In a letter to DG Enterprise, energy company Enel said the delay would mean an extra 20 million credits for the company, “with a signicant value”. Enel has interests in seven accredited industrial gas projects removing the refrigerant by-product HFC-23, so profits from selling credits, as well as relying on the offsets to meet its own emissions targets.

Corporate Europe Observatory's climate researcher Belén Balanyá said:

“Dodgy cheap offsets generated from industrial gas projects have helped Europe's polluting industries meet their carbon targets under the Emissions Trading System while avoiding the kind of structural changes that are needed to ensure domestic reductions. What is very disturbing is that they can rely on the help of their friends in DG Enterprise to sabotage the environmental legislation that does not fit their narrow commercial interests.”

The documents obtained by CEO show that BusinessEurope relied on a former Commission insider to make their case, channelling their demands for a delay through a staff member who had joined BusinessEurope from the Commission. Marten Westrup spent three years working at DG Enterprise before taking on the role of Advisor to the Industrial Affairs Committee at BusinessEurope.

Although the ban will in principle reduce the amount of offsets available, it is part of a plan to expand carbon markets by moving towards “sectoral crediting”. DG Clima has admitted that the banned industrial gas offsets may become eligible in future as part of sectoral credits, which may be agreed bilaterally 2 .

Contact:
Belén Balanyá, Corporate Europe Observatory, belen@corporateeurope.org, tel: +31 633 090 386

Related issues: 
 

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.

 
 
 
 
 
-- placeholder --
 
 
 

The corporate lobby tour