The five biggest oil and gas companies – BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total – and their industry groups have spent at least €251m (£217m) lobbying the EU over climate policies since 2010. Researchers say the figure represents the tip of the iceberg, as in some years companies made no declarations of spending in the voluntary EU transparency register. Pascoe Sabido, researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory, said the oil and gas lobby had “delayed, weakened and sabotaged EU action on the climate emergency, thanks to their hefty lobby spending. A cool quarter of a billion over the last decade buys a lot of access and influence in Brussels.” ( Guardian 24Oct 2019)
Meanwhile BP, for instance, has the gall to spend a fortune on advertising the power it produces from wind farms, as if whole countries are being powered by wind. We are sadly manipulated and misled. Wind represents a minor fraction of the power produced by the use of oil. We cannot ban lobbying; that would be undemocratic. But there should be a ceiling on what is spent on lobbying and careful oversight on what actually constitutes the lobbying process. What does it constitute?
Well, for starters: I have lobbied Congress, or a bit of it. It cost me two dollars, one dollar for a bus trip to the Hill, and one dollar for the bus trip back. The lobbying was thus cheap, and not a dollar changed hands in the process (and you guess it – it was also ineffective!). So how did these corporations manage to spend £217 million? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?