Vote for Repsol as 'Worst EU lobby' 2007

Repsol is nominated for the 2007 EU worst lobby awards for distorting the EU’s research agenda on agrofuels; ensuring that outcomes fit narrow commercial interests, at the expense of genuine measures to combat climate change.

Repsol is a leading oil corporation. Repsol’s Luis Cabra, Director of Technology, chairs the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBFTP), an industry-dominated advisory group promoted by DG Research and partly funded by the Commission. The Commission has entrusted the group to elaborate the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on agrofuels which will identify key research areas (and allocating funds) for the next 20 years. In September 2007 a draft SRA, completed by Repsol and other EBFTP members was made public. This draft proposed an astonishing and ambitious target for 25% of road transport fuel to be agrofuels by 2030.

The Platform describes itself (and therefore the SRA) as a multistakeholder effort bringing together “the biofuels community”. Yet despite rhetoric about open participation, membership has been stitched up from the start. For example, members of the Platform’s steering committee were chosen by the Chair (fromVolvo) and the vice-Chairs of BIOFRAC (the predecessor of the Platform, dominated by oil, car and biotech companies). Unsurprisingly, the result is an organisation full of industry representatives and research centres with close ties to industry. There is not a single citizen organisation represented. As for the 5 working groups, there are only 2 NGO representatives out of some 125 members.

Importantly, Repsol and the other corporations in the EBFTP have a commercial interest in the development of agrofuels in the EU, and they are now designing this policy agenda. The impacts of their ‘advice’ through the EBFTP are far-reaching and already evident. For example, the EU has already proposed a binding target of 10% use of agrofuels in all road transport fuel by 2020. This pays no attention to concerns that agrofuels threaten to exacerbate the problem of climate change and create a range of new insecurities and devastation.

The lobby awards are organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth Europe, Spinwatch and LobbyControl

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