Image Courtesy: The Conversation. Image is for representational use only.
The all accepted science is that human activity has made the planet warmer and drastically effected climate change, which have the potential to affect all life forms adversely. The concern worldwide is how to reduce global warming and what policy level changes must be legislated in order to achieve it. But giant international corporates have been relentlessly indulging in efforts to topple the implementation of such policies. Recently, Google was criticised over its involvement with companies that propagate climate change denial.
Now, a research shows that global oil and gas giants BP, Chevron Corpo, Exxon Mobil Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA along with their lobby groups, since 2010, have spent over 251 million euros to secure their influence in the European Union. This way, these big oil and gas companies could have influenced the climate policy implementation in favour of their profit making, the research revealed. The research is a part of a global campaign by 189 civil society organisations like Greenpeace, Actionaid etc. who demand for “fossil free politics”.
The report reads, “Since 2010, just five oil and gas corporations and their fossil fuel lobby groups have spent at least a quarter of a billion euros buying influence at the heart of European decision-making. It’s part of a decades-long strategy by fossil fuel lobbyists of denying widely accepted science, and trying to delay, weaken, and sabotage climate action – despite knowing their business heats the planet and destroys communities.”
Also read: Modi’s 450 GW Renewable Energy: Who Will Foot the Bill?
Their lobbying resulted in the EU and European governments setting policies which were inadequate in limiting carbon emission and renewable energy targets. On the other hand, their lobbying resulted in promoting fossil fuel consumptions, subsidising new gas pipelines and coal plants.
Their profit rose continually, but greenhouse gas emission didn’t cease, which is a major cause of record storms, droughts, fires, threatening livelihood and lives of several millions around the world. The world’s five biggest publicly traded oil and gas companies’ earnings, put together amounts to some US$ 55 billion in 2018 itself.
Ever since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 aiming to limit global heat below 1.5 degree Celsius, “Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Total and Chevron spent $1 billion on lobbying and advertising undermining this goal”—claims the report. The report also says that since 2014, the lobbyists have held 327 high level meetings with European Commission officials with the aim of influencing EU climate and energy decision making.
The report also discusses how the climate talks hosted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are sponsored by the fossil fuel companies. The COP24, held in Poland in 2018, included sponsors by Poland’s biggest oil company LOTOS, leading gas company PGNiG and PGE, large power producing company. Notably, LOTOS plans to expand its Arctic drilling whereas, PGE’s coal plants were responsible for over 1,100 premature deaths in 2016 alone—the report reveals.
The report also said that France’s environmental law for a progressive phase out of fossil fuel extraction in order to make France a hydrocarbon free country was weakened by big fossil fuel companies.
In their statement, the organisations that produced the report urged political institutions to promote fossil free politics. The statement says, “We need a firewall that protects democratic institutions and decision-making from fossil fuel industry interference: no more private lobby meetings, partnerships or collaboration.”
Also read: ‘Monster’ Storm Dorian Kills 5 in Bahamas, US Evacuates East Coast
It is noteworthy that the fossil fuel industry is responsible for two-thirds of man-made greenhouse gas emissions—found the research that traced anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers during 1854-2010.