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After a BP Threat of Oil Industry 'Exodus', Climate Policies were dropped by EU

After a BP Threat of Oil Industry 'Exodus', Climate Policies were dropped by EU
After receiving a letter from a top BP executive which warned of an exodus of the oil industry from Europe if the proposals went ahead, the EU abandoned or weakened key proposals for new environmental protections, reports The Guardian.  
If laws to regulate tar sands, cut power plant pollution and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy were passed, it would result in a mass industry flight because of the extra costs and red tape they allegedly entailed, the company in 2013 in the 10-page letter.
In the letter, which was obtained by the Guardian under access to documents laws, the company had said that the measures “threaten to drive energy-intensive industries, such as refining and petrochemicals, to relocate outside the EU with a correspondingly detrimental impact on security of supply, jobs [and] growth”.
Signed by a senior BP representative whose name has been redacted was dated 9 August 2013, partly hand-written and was addressed to the EU’s energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger.
While welcoming opportunities to further discuss energy issues in an “informal manner”, the letter references a series of “interactions” between the two men – and between BP and an unnamed third party in Washington DC.
In the letter, most stridently over plans to mandate new pollution cuts and clean technologies, under the industrial emissions directive, BP’s warning of a fossil fuel pull-out from Europe was repeated three times.
The letter said that this reform “has the potential to have a massively adverse economic impact on the costs and competitiveness of European refining and petrochemical industries, and trigger a further exodus outside the EU.”
According to research by Greenpeace, the plant regulations eventually advanced by the commission would leave Europe under a weaker pollution regime than China’s.
Pollution curbs “should also be carefully accessed with close co-operation with the industrial sectors” as clampdown would cost industry many billions of euros, BP said.
After revelations by the Guardian and Greenpeace about the scale of industry involvement, the EU’s environment department moved to limit the coal lobby’s influence on pollution standards last year.
As part of the official negotiating teams of EU member states, the commission had previously allowed hundreds of energy industry lobbyists to aggressively push for weaker pollution limits.
The UK’s robust advocacy of BP’s positions was a cause of deep shame, and illustrated how Brexit would increase the power of fossil fuel firms, said the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato.
“It reveals how the arm-twisting tactics of big oil seek to undermine the EU’s progressive energy and climate policies. BP’s covert lobbying, combined with threats of an exodus of the petrochemicals industry from the EU, are nothing short of blackmail. This document paints a disturbing picture of the degree to which global corporations subvert the democratic process, influence the commission and threaten the vital transition to a cleaner, greener Europe,” she said.
“Rather than achieving any actual reduction in emissions, the letter was intended to “highlight the risk of ‘carbon leakage’, where EU policy to reduce carbon emissions may result in industry relocating outside the EU”, a BP spokesman said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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