Oil, gas giants spend 250m on EU lobbying: green groups | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 25, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:18 AM, October 25, 2019

Oil, gas giants spend 250m on EU lobbying: green groups

The five biggest publicly listed oil and gas companies and trade groups representing them spent more than 250 million euros lobbying the European Union to influence climate action since 2010, environmental groups said Thursday.

Research showed that BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total, as well as trade groups acting on their behalf, have held at least 327 high level meetings with European Commission officials since Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took office in 2014 -- an average of more than one a week.

The findings came from publicly listed documents, and companies who responded to requests for comments said there was no conflict of interest in their executives meeting high-level EU policymakers.

But green groups said the money spent on access to officials showed to what extent oil and gas firms were seeking to influence decisions in Brussels. “This is part of a long trail of the fossil fuel industry delaying, weakening and torpedoing much-needed climate action,” Pascoe Sabido, a researcher and campaigner with Corporate Europe Observatory, told AFP.

The EU is seen as one of the global leaders when it comes to climate action.

But there are fears its member states are not phasing out fossil fuels quickly enough to comply with the 2015 Paris climate accord, which commits nations to limit warming to  “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit).

A Commission spokeswoman told AFP it was  “good practice that politicians and officials meet with external actors”.

She added that  “some meetings” with oil and gas representatives focused on  “renewables and the ways to decarbonise our economy”.

Last year the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for a radical drawdown in fossil fuel use to hit the safer 1.5C cap laid out in the Paris deal.

Yet global emissions are rising year on year, and environmental groups fear major EU gas infrastructure projects in the pipeline could lock the continent into fossil fuels well beyond the IPCC’s deadlines.

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