Yesterday, Greenpeace EU, Friends of the Earth Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory, Food & Water Action Europe and Global Witness sent letters to the EU Parliament party presidents (from the Left to EPP) asking them to react to new revelations on fossil fuel industry disinformation. Here is the letter.
3rd of October 2022
To: Manon Aubry, Martin Schirdewan (GUE/NGL), Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA), Iratxe García Pérez (S&D), Stéphane Séjourné (Renew) and Manfred Weber (EPP)
Subject: New documents show how fossil fuel companies undermine climate policy-making
We are writing to bring to your attention new evidence on the fossil fuel industry’s duplicitous stance on climate action.
Last week, as part of a US Congressional hearing on climate disinformation, hundreds of pages of internal documents from BP, Shell, Exxon and Chevron revealed how several fossil fuel executives contradict their companies’ public commitment on climate. From Shell admitting to “gaslighting” the public and having “no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio in the next 10 to 20 years” to BP urging the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, an industry group it is part of, to remove any reference to the Paris Agreement that “could create a potential commitment to advocate on it” despite publicly supporting it.
These documents are another wave of evidence of how the fossil fuel industry misleads the public and decision makers with public claims that are not backed up, and are frequently contradicted, by real action.
These explosive documents are in line with previous investigations such as #TotalKnew and#ShellKnew, which have uncovered how fossil fuel companies knew about the devastating impact of their products but used an array of tactics to deny the science and weaken, delay or sabotage effective climate measures.
Still, the EU is not doing enough to counter fossil fuel industry weakening of climate policies. Quite the contrary: recently, REPowerEU included the creation of an EU Energy Platform for joint purchases of gas, LNG and hydrogen which will also identify new gas infrastructure needs and define which measures are “feasible”. This Platform is advised by the gas industry which represents a considerable conflict of interest similar to the one that existed between the tobacco industry and the WHO before restrictions were implemented. In light of a historic cost of living crisis and the record profits recorded by fossil fuel companies, we believe it’s now of the utmost importance to publicly hold these companies to account in Europe.
Indeed, these latest revelations highlight how the fossil fuel industry cannot be a trusted partner in combating the energy and climate crises and we urgently call on decision makers to act accordingly.
In light of this investigation, we suggest the following:
● A question to the European Commission about these revelations, whether it has encountered similar issues in Europe and what actions it is specifically taking to protect EU policy making from the impact of the fossil fuel industry’s misinformation
● The development of a conflict of interest policy specific to your party and your MEPs that addresses the undue influence of the industry on policy making
● The organisation of a public hearing within the European Parliament on the impact of fossil fuel industry lobbying practices on climate and energy policies, particularly in light of the energy and cost of living crisis.
We would most welcome your reaction to this letter and we would propose a meeting to discuss our suggestions and our work on Fossil Free Politics.
Jagoda Munic, Director, Friends of the Earth Europe
Mike Davis, CEO, Global Witness
Frida Kieninger, Director of EU affairs, Food & Water Action Europe
Pascoe Sabido, Researcher and Campaigner, Corporate Europe Observatory
Jorgo Riss, Director, Greenpeace EU