CEO: Business Lobby Pushing Self-Interest Over Success

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A watchdog group called the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) says that corporate lobbyists, who have been working overtime to influence the UNFCCC COP15 in the run-up period, are still here in force, still pushing their position and standing dangerously in the way of success.

CEO spokester Jiorgos Vassalos said that Europe appears lucky to have no mainstream corporate groups that actually deny climate science. “The dominant discourse is that something has to be done, but nothing that might harm the European Union’s corporate competitiveness.”

That, for example, means no technology transfer to the developing world unless it comes in the form of direct foreign investment – on which corporations will have an opportunity to make ongoing profit. Of course, there is nothing wrong with profit, but not if it blocks the kind of technology transfers that the developing world may desperately need in the transitional years to come.

CEO has prepared a list of the major lobby groups that have been most successful in influencing policy to date. It includes historically unhelpful denier groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as more sophisticated lobby organizations such as the International Emissions Trading Association and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association.

Vassalos said it is increasingly difficult to find corporate lobbyists actually operating within national delegations, in part because those who are involved no longer list their corporate affiliation in delegate sheets. But they are here in force, running huge and lavish side events targetting national negotiators and making room for ongoing pressure.

CEO is also objecting that another de facto business lobby is actually using EU funds to try to leverage even more government spending on their behalf. The European Technology Platform for Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants (ZEP) was set up as an advisory body to the European Commission on public research policies, and it receives 50% of its core funding from the EU.

But ZEP, which is dominated by representatives from fossil fuel industries including Vattenfall, Alstom, Shell and E.ON has used the platform to push for public funding for carbon capture and storage, a “solution” that, at this point has little more promise than cold fusion.

Check out the CEO list, and take special notice of some of the warm-sounding titles (Combat Climate Change; The Climate Group; the World Business Council for Sustainable Development).

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