Quantcast
Politics
The debating chamber of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg in 2014. DAVID ILIFF / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Report Uncovers 88 Revolving Door Cases Between European Public Servants and Fossil Fuel Companies

The "revolving door" between politicians and the fossil fuel industry has long been a concern in U.S. politics. Perhaps the most "blatant" case, as Kelle Louaillier pointed out in an Alternet article published by EcoWatch, was former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to the post after serving as the CEO of ExxonMobil. But it was a problem during the Obama administration, too. A report published in 2014 found that the turnover between public servants and fossil fuel industry workers facilitated four permits for liquified natural gas export facilities.


Now, a May 2018 report reveals that it's not a problem unique to this side of the pond.

The report, "Revolving Doors and the Fossil Fuel Industry: Time to Tackle Conflicts of Interest in Climate Policy-Making," was commissioned by the Green/European Free Alliance (EFA) group in the European Parliament. It found 88 cases of the revolving door phenomenon between fossil fuel companies and the public sector in the 13 European countries it studied.

According to the Executive Summary, the Green/EFA group undertook the report in response to claims that members of the European Union were not engaging seriously with other countries who wanted to draft a conflict of interests policy for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"Perhaps the extent of the revolving door phenomenon across Europe is one of the reasons why the European Union and its Member States have been siding with other large polluting economies such as the USA and Canada in their attempts to block discussions on conflicts of interest, despite the fact that governments from across the globe have raised this as an issue at the UN level," the report's introduction said.

The report also expressed concern about the impact of fossil fuel lobbying on climate change policy overall.

"[I]t is hard to deny that the fossil fuel industry has been fiercely fighting effective climate policies over the past couple of decades. This industry is not only highly influential, but it is also an effective recruiter of former regulators in the energy sector, as shown in this report. And its political influence stands out," the report's introduction said.

The report found that the revolving door operated differently in different countries. In Spain, Austria and Denmark, the fossil fuel sector tended to hire high-level politicians. For example, in 2016 in Spain, 26 former ministers and senior party officials had jobs in private energy companies.

In other countries, like the UK, France, Belgium and Norway, companies tended to hire ex-policy advisers.

For example, in the UK, Patrick Erwin went from head of Energy Markets and Infrastructure Strategy and Programme Office at the Department of Energy and Climate Change to working for the biggest UK fracking company, INEOS shale.

Overall, 28 of the cases found by the report involved former ministers or secretaries of state, 28 involved high-placed civil servants or cabinet members, 22 involved members of parliament and 10 involved former members of government regulatory agencies.

The report said that it was beyond its scope to assess the impact of these revolving door instances on climate change policy overall and called for more research to be done.

It recommended European countries adopt a three-year "cooling off" period before any former public servant took a job in a sector they formerly regulated, publicly available "lobbying transparency registers" so that citizens could track potential influence in politics, "machine readable declarations of interest" published by new office holders detailing past careers and financial interests and "codes of conduct" that would prevent public servants from having any conflicts of interests while serving.

The report further backed the creation of a UNFCCC conflict-of-interest policy.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Kodachrome25 / Getty Images

Roof-to-Garden: How to Irrigate with Rainwater

By Brian Barth

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day, a third for irrigation and other outdoor uses. Collecting the water flowing down your downspouts in rainstorms so you can use it to irrigate in dry periods is often touted as a simple way to cut back. But setting up a functional rainwater irrigation system—beyond the ubiquitous 55-gallon barrels under the downspout, which won't irrigate much more than a flower bed or two—is a fairly complicated DIY project.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
A family wears face masks as they walk through the smoke filled streets after the Thomas wildfire swept through Ventura, California on Dec. 6, 2017. MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty Images

How to Protect Your Children From Wildfire Smoke

By Cecilia Sierra-Heredia

We're very careful about what our kids eat, but what about the air they breathe?

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Hero Images / Getty Images

Study: Children Have Better Nutrition When They Live Near Forests

Spending time in nature is known to boost mental and emotional health. Now, a new global study has found that children in 27 developing nations tend to have more diverse diets and better nutrition when they live near forests.

The paper, published Wednesday in Science Advances, provides evidence that forest conservation can be an important tool in promoting better nutrition in developing countries, rather than clear-cutting forests for more farmland.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Navy torpedo bomber spraying DDT just above the trees in Goldendale, WA in 1962. USDA Forest Service

Maternal DDT Exposure Linked to Increased Autism Risk

A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry Thursday found that mothers exposed to the banned pesticide DDT were nearly one-third more likely to have children who developed autism, Environmental Health News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
GMO
Significant cupping of leaves from dicamba drift on non-Xtend soybeans planted next to Xtend beans in research plots at the Ashland Bottoms farm near Manhattan, KS. Dallas Peterson, K-State Research and Extension / CC BY 2.0

Top Seed Companies Urge EPA to Limit Dicamba

Two of the nation's largest independent seed sellers, Beck's Hybrids and Stine Seed, are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place limits on the spraying of the drift-prone pesticide dicamba, Reuters reported.

This could potentially hurt Monsanto, which along with DowDupont and BASF SE, makes dicamba formulations to use on Monsanto's Xtend seeds that are genetically engineered to resist applications of the weedkiller. Beck's Hybrids and Stine Seed, as well as other companies, sell those seeds.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Baby son in high chair feeding father. Getty Images

Baby Food Tests Find 68 Percent Contain 'Worrisome' Levels of Heavy Metals

Testing published by Consumer Reports (CR) Thursday found "concerning levels" of toxic metals in popular U.S. baby and toddler food.

The consumer advocacy group tested 50 nationally-distributed, packaged foods designed for toddlers and babies for mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke talks to journalists outside the White House West Wing before attending a Trump cabinet meeting on Aug. 16. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Zinke Announces Plan to Fight Wildfires With More Logging

The Trump administration announced a new plan Thursday to fight ongoing wildfires with more logging, and with no mention of additional funding or climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Wangan and Jagalingou cultural leader Adrian Burragubba visits Doongmabulla Springs in Australia. The Wangan and Jagalingou are fighting a proposed coal mine that would likely destroy the springs, which are sacred to the Indigenous Australian group. Wangan and Jagalingou

Indigenous Australians Take Fight Against Giant Coal Mine to the United Nations

By Noni Austin

For tens of thousands of years, the Wangan and Jagalingou people have lived in the flat arid lands of central Queensland, Australia. But now they are fighting for their very existence. Earlier this month, they took their fight to the United Nations after years of Australia's failure to protect their fundamental human rights.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!