Cold homes, hot profits
How polluters persuade politicians to put profits before people
Across Europe’s capitals, fossil fuel companies and lobby groups have been pulling out all the stops to influence governments’ responses to the energy crisis, sabotaging policies that could help millions of people struggling to pay their bills. All so they can protect their staggering windfall profits (the profits of the big five oil majors’ more than doubled to $200 billion in 2022) and extend the life of their climate-wrecking business model – while people, and the planet, pay the ultimate price.
From Rome to Prague, Brussels to London, politicians are welcoming fossil fuel companies as advisers instead of arsonists, failing to recognise their vested interests and their role in creating, prolonging, and profiting from the energy crisis.
- At the EU-level, fossil fuel lobby group the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) has lobbied – and been invited to advise – the European Commission, pushing for more fossil gas and the false solutions that justify it; advice that keeps bills high (with gas prices still more than 50 per cent above pre-Ukraine war levels) and Europe hooked on fossil fuels;
- In Italy – where the government has appointed a fossil fuel lobbyist as an advisor – oil and gas giant ENI has used the crisis to secure more drilling and new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, (to read the full research article, click here)
- In the Czech Republic, dirty energy giant EPH used public threats, a powerful media empire, and ties to the ruling party to delay and weaken the windfall tax on excess profits;
- In the UK, fossil fuel lobby group Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) used its privileged access, swanky parliamentary receptions, and special advisory groups to ensure the windfall tax has been full of fatal loopholes, and could be cut short, (to read the full research article, click here);
- In Spain, energy companies Endesa, Naturgy, and Iberdrola have used a complex web of political, legal, and PR manoeuvres – including a revolving door with Spain’s top legal civil servants – to fight measures that curb their profits and to make vulnerable families bear the financial burden instead, (to read the full research article, click here).
Decades spent lobbying for more gas in Europe rather than shifting to renewables has kept fossil fuel companies’ pockets full, but left the continent vulnerable to high prices. We urgently need decision-makers to work for the public good rather than private interests – by kicking polluters out and bringing people in.
To read the summary report, click here