Ben-Fagan Watson in the Guardian: multinationals under pressure over climate lobbying

PSI’s Ben Fagan-Watson has a piece in the Guardian today on the role of BusinessEurope in lobbying for weaker EU climate-change rules.

The article reports on a letter sent by a group of investors to some of the EU’s biggest companies asking them to justify their membership of trade associations that seem to be pursuing EU policies that are at odds with the stated aims of the companies in question. The article follows on from a report published by PSI earlier this year, Lobbying by Trade Associations on EU Climate Policy.

In this latest article, Ben writes:

‘The tactics BusinessEurope is using are familiar: in our original report we noted that trade bodies have repeatedly raised the spectre of carbon leakage (the risk of such companies relocating to regions with laxer emissions limits), deindustrialisation and job losses in response to policies designed to mitigate climate change, arguing that energy-intensive industries should get free handouts of emission permits from European taxpayers to keep them competitive. This is despite modelling by Cambridge Econometrics showing that “far fewer sectors are at genuine risk … of relocation of production as a result of unilateral climate policy” than originally thought, as well evidenced from independent academic research (for instance: here, here and here).

BusinessEurope has an enormous indirect membership (through the national trade associations who are its members), and its corporate advisory support group contains many big-name companies and brands. A great many of these have explicitly recognised the dangers of runaway climate change. If BusinessEurope wants to retain credibility with both businesses and European policymakers, it needs to seriously rethink its approach to climate change policy to play a positive, constructive and sustainable role in the transition to a low-carbon future.’

Read the full article here:

BP, EDF and Proctor & Gamble face pressure over climate change lobbying, Guardian, 10 September 2015