Between 2015 and 2021, six fossil fuel giants (Shell, BP, Total, Equinor, ENI and Galp) and five of their lobby groups (Hydrogen Europe, Eurogas, FuelsEurope, IOGP and CEFIC) were involved in the following:
We are already feeling the impacts of the climate emergency, with record-breaking storms, floods, droughts and fires. Overtwo-thirds of man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from the fossil fuel industry, and its capture of our political systems is a major obstacle to tackling this crisis.
For decades, fossil fuel companies have lobbied against effective climate action at the national, EU and international levels, blocking policies to cut emissions and leave fossil fuels in the ground. Their bag of lobbying tricks includes privileged access, huge lobby spending and revolving doors. The result is the corporate capture by the fossil fuel industry of the EU decision-making process, and the normalisation of fossil fuel interests and priorities across all political institutions.
New research by Fossil Free Politics members Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe and Food & Water Action Europe explores 71 revolving door cases involving the public sector (national governments and agencies, the EU, and international institutions) and just six Big Energy firms and five of their lobby groups between 2015 - 2021 (the full data and methodology is here). Below we highlight some of the many cases of public servants and elected representatives who have gone through the revolving door to corporate jobs with fossil fuel companies or their representatives, and officials who have moved to the public sphere from roles in these companies.
As COP26 begins in Glasgow, we have seen no real action despite the Paris Agreement commitments.To reach the Paris goal of keeping warming below 1.5°C, almost 60 per cent of oil and gas reserves and 90 per cent of coal mustremain in the ground. Yet big oil and gas majors have merely pledged ‘net zero’ climate plans, a convenient cloak for business-as-usualand false solutions. Their proposals involve a variety of risky technologies and deeply flawed schemes: carbon markets, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen for example. At the heart of these pledges are projections that would actually increase their production of gas. This smokescreen allows for continued emissions and will have significant negative social and environmental impacts when deployed at scale. Itis also a distraction from the rapid implementation of a drop in fossil fuel consumption that we urgently need, and their replacement withrealalternatives. Nonetheless, the majority of political institutions embrace the false solutions engineered by the fossil fuel industry.
Revolving door rules are inadequate, and regulators turn a blindeye to possible conflicts of interest whereby Big Energy benefits from the know-how and contact books of insiders. This is not simply a case of individual wrongdoing but a systemic problem across institutions. These revolving door cases demonstrate just how normalised the model, assumptions, power and culture of the fossil fuel industry have become.
The question of the influence of oil and gas companies in political life could not be more significant. Whether they are opposingor delaying environmental action, pushing to defend dirty energy investments at the cost of human rights, securing diplomatic deals with third countries,fuelling conflict,or playing powerful roles in economics and energy ministries, we need a functioning firewall between public officials and those companies most responsible for fuelling and perpetuating climate change.
READ the full background document here.