1. Global Witness launches EU Gas Detector for the public to track fossil fuel companies access to EU officials

3rd June 2021, London - As Global Witness launches an innovative new twitter toolto allow the general public to track meetings the European Commission grants to the fossil fuel industry, we can reveal the scale of this access. 

Since the EU Commission began disclosing lobbying meetings in December 2014, senior EU officials have held 813 meetings with gas companies and their industry associations, averaging two per week. Global Witness’ analysis of the EU transparency data also shows  that figure includes 131 meetings since January 2020, despite the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time nearly 50 meetings included discussion of the European Green Deal whilst other regular themes include the EU’s key energy regulation that secures public subsidies for gas infrastructure projects.

The gas industry’s wealth of access to Commission officials likely reflects the massive sums spent by gas companies on lobbying. Fossil gas companies and their associations have spent approximately €300 million lobbying the European Union since 2010, according to their public disclosures. The analysis also reveals that 50 gas company lobbyists currently hold passes for the European Parliament.

To provide much needed public scrutiny over this lobbying, Global Witness is today launching @EU Gas Detector - a groundbreaking twitter bot that will automatically generate a tweet every single time a senior EU official declares a meeting with a gas lobbyist. 

Barnaby Pace, Senior Gas Campaigner at Global Witness, said:

“This lobbying is how the gas industry shapes policy to their own interest and holds politicians back from the real climate action the world so desperately needs.”

“The science is overwhelmingly clear that we must phase out fossil gas - but this industry and its lobbyists are desperately pumping their messages into the halls of power.”

“It’s time to shut down the pipelines between politics and polluters. We hope that the exciting new tool we are launching today will help remind politicians that the world is watching when they are deciding whether to take yet another meeting with a gas lobbyist.”

The fossil fuel industry is trying to convince citizens and governments that gas is a route to minimising emissions. However, the International Energy Agency’s landmark report last month found that gas extraction and use must decline significantly if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.