Environmental groups are calling for an end to oil and gas lobbying at the EU after uncovering that the world’s five big oil and gas companies and their lobbyists have spent over €250 million since 2010 to buy influence with the EU.
Investigations by leading European environmental groups shows that BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total – the five biggest publicly-traded oil and gas companies in the world – and their lobby associations have spent over a quarter of a billion euros buying influence at the EU.
In total, the five fossil fuel companies employ 200 lobbyists in Brussels and have held 327 high-level meetings with top European Commission officials since European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker took office in 2014. The data was obtained from the companies’ own declarations in the EU’s lobby transparency register and the European Commissioners’ published calendars of meetings.
The environmental groups – Corporate Europe Observatory, Food & Water Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace EU – are calling on the European Commission’s new president and commissioners, MEPs and governments to cut fossil fuel interests out of politics, with restrictions similar to those on tobacco industry lobbyists.
“Having tobacco lobbyists negotiating our public health laws is unthinkable today – and that’s just how we must treat fossil fuel lobbyists,” said Frida Kieninger, campaign officer for Food & Water Europe. “Ending private meetings, cosy events and revolving doors can shut vested fossil fuel interests out of policy-making on the climate crisis.”
The environmental groups are accusing the fossil fuel industry lobbyists in Brussels and capitals across Europe of delaying, weakening and sabotaging EU action on the climate emergency by watering down targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the lobbyists have secured lucrative fossil fuel subsidies for the top five oil and gas companies, which together were responsible for 7.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions between 1988 and 2015.
“Big oil and big gas are causing death and destruction in exchange for eye-watering profits. But millions of people are calling them out, as they face trial for their role in fuelling the climate emergency and trampling on human rights,” said Sebastian Ming, climate policy advisor for Greenpeace EU. “It’s time our governments hold them to account.”
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