To: Members of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, leaders of the political groups
CC: Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Petitions
MEPs: End ExxonMobil’s privileged access to the European Parliament – strip it of its lobby badges
Dear Members of the European Parliament,
we are writing to you to ask you to remove the access badges of ExxonMobil because it failed to appear at the European Parliament’s hearing without sufficient justification, failed to answer legitimate questions about its role in undermining climate science and action, and simultaneously attempted to discredit the proceedings behind the scenes.
Following a petition by Food & Water Europe1), the European Parliament’s Committees on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and on Petitions invited ExxonMobil to appear before them for a public hearing on its climate change denialism on March 21st. ExxonMobil declined to attend the hearing, citing in its email response2) “ongoing climate-change related litigation in the United States” and that it is “important to ensure that public commentary does not prejudice those proceedings”.
ExxonMobil’s excuse of ongoing litigation is an unacceptable and insufficient justification to refuse cooperation with the European Parliament. It appears to be an attempt to avoid being held publicly accountable for its actions by the European Parliament. The oil and gas major, responsible for 3.2% of global emissions from 1751 to 20103), has continued to issue4) “public commentary” regarding the court cases since they began.
Rather than attending the hearing, ExxonMobil instead sent a letter5) to the chairs of the two committees days beforehand, not just underlining why it declined the Parliament’s invitation, but it also attempted to refute claims of climate change denialism. In the letter ExxonMobil also attacks and tries to discredit the expert witness called to testify by Parliament, MIT and Harvard climate science historian, Dr. Geoffrey Supran. ExxonMobil’s attempting to influence MEPs behind the scenes and derail the hearing by failing to appear and answer critical questions is an affront to the European Parliament. Unfortunately, it is only the latest example in a decades-long campaign to mislead the public around climate change and how to tackle it.
In Brussels, ExxonMobil’s influence depends on its lobbying firepower and the access it affords. It has spent more than €35 million6) lobbying the EU since 2010 and secures regular meetings with the European Commission’s top officials. Its 6 registered lobbyists with accreditation badges enjoy unlimited access to the European Parliament, while a wide network of other lobby organisations7) help ExxonMobil to delay climate action that it perceives as undermining its multi-billion dollar profits8). We are urging the Conference of Presidents to recommend that ExxonMobil is stripped of its access badges to the European Parliament.
ExxonMobil has shown disrespect for the Parliament by refusing to attend the hearing, without sufficient justification, while at the same time discrediting an expert behind the scenes. The European Parliament has the power, under Rule 116a of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament9), to strip ExxonMobil of its access badges and therefore revoke their privileged access to the European Parliament. We urge you, as Members of the Conference of Presidents, to use the next COP meeting on 11 April to make such a recommendation. This represents the last opportunity to do so in this parliamentary term.
Frida Kieninger, Food & Water Europe (Petitioner)
Brief als pdf