Saturday 23 July 2011

Conservative Party links to fossil fuel lobbyists exposed (or: how decision-making happens in Europe)

Chris Huhne has ordered a private inquiry into which fossil fuel lobbyists "got to" the Conservative MEPs who defied David Cameron and voted down an ambitious carbon emissions target in the European parliament on 5 July.

New research by the Guardian and Greenpeace into lobby groups and businesses seen by Tory MEPs in 2010 reveals there were more than four times as many meetings with fossil fuel companies, carmakers and others against stronger action on global warming than with green businesses and those pushing for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The research by the Guardian and Greenpeace shows that the 25 Tory MEPs met at least 300 representatives from fossil fuel businesses and their lobbyists in 2010 at more than 200 meetings, compared with about 70 representatives from green industries or lobby groups. The research also found the Tory MEPs attended at least 100 meetings with gas and oil companies and 75 meetings with car manufacturers last year.

Ford was one of the most hospitable companies, enjoying meetings with at least nine of the MEPs, most of them more than once.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was also popular, alongside Jaguar Land Rover.

The UK's Association of Electricity Producers, which has strongly opposed any increase in carbon emissions cuts, was well-represented among the numerous fossil fuel energy lobbyists, along with oil industry groups such as the UK Petroleum Industry Association.