Published by: Corporate Europe Observatory, 4 November 2015
Written by: Belen Balanya, with contributions from Pascoe Sabido, Ronja Heise and Rachel Tansey
One year on from the appointment of Cañete and Šefčovič, Corporate Europe Observatory takes a look at who the commissioners responsible for climate and energy policies are meeting, and finds Big Energy dominating the agenda.
According to data extracted from the Commission itself, 80 per cent of the meetings of European Commissioners Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate and Energy, and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for the Energy Union, were with the private sector. Big Energy dominated, including many of those companies most responsible for cooking the climate: in the last year, three quarters of the encounters with the energy industry to discuss climate and energy policies were with fossil fuel companies.
This privileged access is reflected in the Commission’s policies, from the direction of the Energy Union as it locks in fossil fuel infrastructure, to the watering down of the EU’s climate ambitions. Yet climate science confirms that we need to leave at least 80 per cent of fossil fuels in the ground in order to avoid runaway climate change. The window of opportunity for preventing climate catastrophe is in the next ten years, and it can only be avoided by drastically cutting emissions, increasing real renewables, and dramatically improving energy efficiency. A year into this Commission, we are going in the opposite direction.