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See also a recent article in Issue 8 of the Corporate Europe Observer, entitled 'Corporate Campaign to Corrupt the Kyoto Protocol Continues After COP-6'.
Table of Contents
I. Greenhouse Market Mania

Introduction: Corporate Eyes on The Hague
License to Pollute?
What's at Stake in The Hague
From Saving the Climate to Free Trade in Greenhouse Gases
The Climate Fraud Catalogue
The Corporate Strategy: From Opposition to Co-optation
'The Europeans': Voluntary Action Will Do
US: The Boldest Offensive
Speaking With One Voice in the International Front
Economic Globalisation vs. Climate Stability
The Way Forward: Climate Justice

II. Corporate Lobby Groups An Overview

The European Corporate Climate Lobby
The ERT's 'Positive Action'
CEFIC: Opposing environmental regulation
UNICE: Avoiding Binding Targets
European Lobby Groups Fighting Ecological Taxes
CEPS: European Think Tank Joins the Climate Debate
The Climate Greenwash Vanguard: Shell and BP Amoco
The USA: The Boldest Offensive
The GCC: Still Going Strong
The American Petroleum Institute
The Business Roundtable
A Shift in Strategy
The Pew Center: The Next Generation
International Groups
The International Climate Change Partnership (ICCP)
The Transatlantic Dimension
The Emission Brokers Lobby
The Nuclear Lobby

III. Notes


IV. Glossary


Corporate Eyes on the Hague

From November 13th through 24th, the Dutch city of The Hague will host the UN Climate Summit, officially titled the Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention, or COP-6.

he Hague Summit is critical, as it is there that the final decisions for the implementation of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol will be taken. The Kyoto Protocol is in danger of becoming the most corporate-friendly environmental treaty in history, not only at the expense of social and political equity between North and South, but also to the detriment of the climate itself.

A growing body of research warns that the rules for implementing the Protocol as promoted by an unholy alliance of Northern governments and corporate lobby groups would result in a net increase of greenhouse gas emissions rather than the average reduction of 5.2 % agreed upon in 1997. On top of that, many of the corporate activities that might become eligible for "carbon credits" after COP-6 - including nuclear energy as well as industrial and genetically-modified agriculture and tree plantations - have serious negative social and environmental impacts.

The US government first introduced market-based mechanisms into the Kyoto Protocol in order to ensure that the agreement did not threaten US corporate interests. Since then, technical discussions about these neo-liberal instruments have completely dominated the UN climate negotiations. Corporate lobby groups were quick to embrace greenhouse gas emissions trading- a perfect tool for pre-empting government regulation. Business interest in the issue of climate change has reached an unprecedented level spanning all industrial sectors. The net effect of corporate involvement, however, will be a corrupted and anaemic Kyoto Protocol. Corporations - efficiently organised in a complex web of national, regional and global groupings - have engaged in proactive lobbying to prevent what they consider to be the worst case scenario- binding government regulations to force businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Indeed, the large-scale global offensive launched by these industrial interests has been a key force behind the adoption of dubious market-based mechanisms to solve the climate crisis. These 'solutions' have served as the Trojan horse upon which corporations have galloped into the climate talks and systematically proceeded to weaken and distort the Protocol from the inside.

A gradual shift has taken place. After years of pure and unapologetic obstruction, most transnational corporations (TNCs) have now adopted what they claim to be a more 'constructive' approach. Business, they argue, will not block the negotiations nor prevent the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol at COP-6. Instead, they will focus on ensuring an unlimited use of the Protocol's market-based mechanisms. The Kyoto Protocol opened up possibilities for countries to meet their reduction commitments through emissions trading and a range of other pseudo-solutions that have gained disturbing mainstream political acceptance in the run-up to COP-6. Both the biotech and the nuclear energy sectors are hungrily eyeing the subsidies, carbon credits and new business opportunities that could emerge from the Kyoto mechanisms. Industry and countries including the United States hope to avoid the placement of any ceiling whatsoever on the amount of their reductions that can be achieved `abroad' through emissions trading. A whole new industrial sector has emerged even before consensus has been reached on the Kyoto rules- the emissions brokers. The attraction is clear- the market in global greenhouse gases could grow to trillions of US dollars over the next decades. Most corporations have discovered that huge profits lie ahead if they manage to shape the Kyoto mechanisms to their interests.

Corporations claim to have the climate situation under control. They argue that carbon and energy taxes and other effective regulations should be avoided at all costs in the name of international competitiveness. The solutions, they claim, can be found in voluntary agreements between governments and industry and in an unimpeded free market permitting the development of new and improved technology. Market-obsessed governments and industry lobby groups have shifted the debate into a realm dominated by technocratic solutions and industrial concerns like securing profits and strengthening global corporate dominance. The key challenge at COP-6 will be to bring the commodification of the climate debate to a halt. The alternative is climate policies that pursue real emissions reductions and equity, a complete withdrawal from fossil fuel dependency and the ever-increasing growth in energy production and use.

Reflecting the huge interests at stake, over 12,000 people will attend COP-6, a minority of them government delegates. In addition to over 4,000 journalists, there will be a similar number of 'observers', including a record number of corporate lobbyists. [1] Over 1,000 industry lobbyists attended the last climate summit of similar importance, COP-3 in Kyoto. Representatives of corporate lobby groups from the US, the EU and Japan will clearly outnumber environmentalists - an unusual situation for negotiations on what is without doubt today's most serious environmental problem.

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