Big Business Deflates EU Climate Package

Supposed tough EU measures to tackle climate change have been dramatically weakened following a broad lobbying campaign by different sectors of industry, a new report from Corporate Europe Observatory released today (Monday 1st December) reveals [1]. The report is launched as international climate talks start in Poznań, Poland.

Ministers are expected to push for agreement on the Climate and Energy Package when they meet for a high level summit later this month, but analysis of the negotiations reveal that many of the original proposals put forward have been dramatically watered down in response to industry lobbying. The result is a weak and ineffective package, the campaign group says.

A separate report from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) also reveals how the aviation sector lobbied to water down the terms under which they are included in the EU-wide Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), with the likely result that emissions from aviation are still expected to increase by 78% by 2020 [2].  

The aviation industry body IATA (International Air Traffic Association) has been nominated for a Worst EU Lobbying Award because of the misleading nature of its lobbying activity [3].

Corporate Europe Observatory spokesman Olivier Hoedeman said:

“The European Union wants to be seen to be showing global leadership in tackling climate change but in reality it is pandering to the demands of industry and allowing business as usual by promoting false solutions that meet the needs of vested interests but which do not guarantee a sustainable climate’’.

Crucially, key sectors of industry such as oil refineries will be once again allocated free emissions permits under the third phase of the ETS, allowing them to make yet more windfall profits.  Business is also pushing for weaker targets for renewable energy trying to blur the 20% by 2020 target.

Responding to heavy lobbying by industry, the EU has embraced nuclear energy and controversial unproven technology such as carbon capture and storage. And despite widespread recognition of the problems caused by growing agrofuels in developing countries, the EU looks set to keep its controversial target to obtain 10% of transport fuel from crops by 2020.

A new directive controlling carbon dioxide emissions from cars is also expected to have been significantly weakened following extensive lobbying from the car industry.

Yiorgos Vassalos, a researcher with Corporate Europe Observatory added:
“The EU is approaching the UN climate talks from a weak position. It has failed to grasp the urgency of securing genuine emissions reductions in Europe to reform the unsustainable economy. Instead it is committing itself to a future of continued high carbon dependence, combined with promoting very harmful false solutions such as agrofuels and a massive re-launch of nuclear energy.”

The report also highlights how BusinessEurope, an influential business lobby group, is calling for the EU not to sign up to an international climate deal (to be discussed in Poznań) unless developing countries such as China and Brazil agree to consider targets as well.  

Under the Kyoto Protocol developed nations agreed they must take the first steps in tackling climate change because of their historical responsibility for the build up of carbon in the atmosphere [4].

[1], Corporate Europe Observatory, December 2008.  Watering down the EU’s Climate Policies: a multi-pronged corporate attack
[2] Climate Crash in Strasbourg: an industry in denial, Corporate Europe Observatory, December.
[3] See   
[4] The principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” - see