Big energy has ‘privileged access’ to top EU climate officals, claim campaigners

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A row has broken out over claims that the vast majority of lobbyists met by the EU’s top two energy and climate officials have been from the fossil fuel sector, big energy firms and heavy industry, since they took office six months ago.

Calendar records show that 94% of the EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete’s meetings have been with business lobbyists, mostly representing the heavy industry and fossil fuels sectors. For the vice president for energy union, Maroš Šefčovič, the figure was 70%.

Sources close to Cañete say that in practice, he held five group meetings with NGOs – rather than the two listed in the calendar – and gave five group updates to civil society groups at last December’s UN climate summit in Peru, bringing the true figure closer to 83%. They say he has championed climate action in informal dialogues, and improved upon the access record of his predecessor.

But Pascoe Sabido, a campaigner for Corporate Europe Observatory, complained of undue corporate influence.

“These lists of meetings show unrivalled privileged access for the most polluting industries, while public interest groups have barely featured,” he told the Guardian. “How the EU acts over the next few years both internationally and regionally will be key in deciding whether we avoid catastrophic climate change. But on this evidence, Cañete and co are too close to the fossil fuel industry to stop us careering head-first into a climate disaster.”

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