Everybody who cares about issues of sustainability and human coexistence with the natural environmental is being told to invest all their hopes and energies in December’s COP21 summit. At long last the people of the world are coming together to mend their ways and build a cleaner, more sustainable planet Earth. At least that’s the official story.
But what if it’s all bullshit? What if the people and organizations behind COP21 are the same people and organizations that are desperate for our governments to sign along the dotted line on free trade agreements like TPP, TTIP, CETA and TiSA. What if their goals are not to clean up the environment but rather extend and entrench their ownership and control over it.
According to a new report by Corporate Europe Observatory, that’s precisely what’s happening. Here’s a brief exerpt from the report:
What do the UN climate talks in Paris this December, “COP21”, and the ongoing EU-US trade negotiations, TTIP, have in common? Both look set to create deals that work for big business and dirty industry, but threaten people and the planet and undermine the fi ght for climate justice.
The same profit-hungry multinationals and their lobby groups pushing TTIP’s corporate power-grab are also intent on wrecking the climate. As a result, shareholders and chief executives will continue to line their pockets whilst trashing our communities and their environments.
These corporate climate criminals want to produce and trade at the lowest cost to themselves – regardless of the costs to the rest of us. Through aggressive lobbying and crafty PR spin, they want to use both set of talks to not just stop regulation that protects the climate, but actually use the negotiations to push false solutions to the crisis based on rebranding and expanding their dirty business model.
Industry lobby groups and trade associations enjoy privileged access to decision makers – unlike trade unions, environmental NGOs or consumer groups. A closer look at the lobby groups meeting most with EU TTIP negotiators shows they’re lobbying for a climate catastrophe.
BusinessEurope, the European employers’ confederation, is one of Brussels’ most influential big business lobby groups, spending over €4 million on EU lobbying in 2014.1 It is known for its cosy relationship with EU decision-makers and track record of lobbying to block or weaken environmental and social policies. Its corporate members include climate-criminals BP, Total, Shell, EDF and GDF Suez (now Engie – an official COP21 sponsor).
To highlight their credentials, Shell has shirked responsibility for decades of devastation in the Niger Delta, BP and ExxonMobil have been responsible for some of the worst oil spills in history – yet all want to drill for oil in the Arctic!
BusinessEurope was the biggest EU lobby group on TTIP in the first two years of the trade deal’s planning and negotiations, steering the deal toward what we have now. It had the most meetings on TTIP with the European Commission’s Trade directorate, which is responsible for the EU’s negotiating position (15 between Jan 2012 and Feb 2014). Its International Relations Director sits on the Commission’s influential TTIP advisory group.
BusinessEurope wants TTIP to stop environmental policies being “barriers to trade” and prevent governments “discriminating” against polluting products . It demands an end to tariffs and to policies trying to restrict the exploration and production of fossil fuels – including shale gas. In short, it intends to use TTIP to keep us hooked on fossil fuels and put trade concerns above climate action.
BusinessEurope sees the UN climate talks (UNFCCC) as a great business opportunity. It lobbies for a climate deal that will “drive the competitiveness of European industry”, calling on negotiators to “get the best out of Paris for private investment security”. But by competitiveness it means cheap energy and weak environmental regulation.
Painting itself as part of the solution, its core demand for COP21 is to be a formal partner in international climate negotiations. So an official seat at the table to help the UNFCCC “in setting agendas” – even though its own agenda is to kill off any effective and fair climate action. BusinessEurope is also trying to steer international finance earmarked for poorer countries to tackle climate change and its impacts towards its corporate members.
A revealingly titled lobby paper “On the road to Paris: A Global Deal is Our Business” pushes for a global carbon market (even though carbon markets have made big polluters rich rather than reducing their emissions; DQ: see this) and a deal that applies similar targets to all “competitors” no matter which country they are in…