European Sound Climate Policy Coalition
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
Greenpeace obtained documents, an e-mail and a PowerPoint presentation, that laid out plans to establish a group called the European Sound Climate Policy Coalition, seeking to draw together transnational corporations, think-tanks, lobbyists, and members of academia and the media from across Europe to work together to extinguish further European Union support for the treaty.
The documents were written by Chris Horner, a senior official with the ExxonMobil-funded right-wing think-tank Competitive Enterprise Institute. Horner is also involved with the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group created to “dispel the myth of global warming.”
The Independent, which recovered the documents, detailed how such a front group would work: “Based in Brussels, theplan would have anti-Kyoto position papers, expert spokesmen, detailed advice and networking instantly available to any politician or company who wanted to question the wisdom of proceeding with Kyoto and its demanding cuts in carbon dioxide emissions."
"The PowerPoint document sets out plans to establish a group called the European Sound Climate Policy Coalition. It says: 'In the US an informal coalition has helped successfully to avert adoption of a Kyoto-style program. This model should be emulated, as appropriate, to guide similar efforts in Europe.'" "The document says: 'The current political realities in Brussels open a window of opportunity to challenge the course of the EU's post-2012 agenda.' It adds: 'Brussels must openly acknowledge and address them willingly or through third party pressure.' "It says industry associations are the 'wrong way to do this' but suggests that a cross-industry coalition, of up to six companies each paying €10,000 (£6,700), could 'counter the commission's Kyoto agenda.' Such a coalition could help steer debate, it says, by targeting journalists and bloggers, as well as attending environmental group events to 'share information on opposing viewpoints and tactics.'" In the email, dated January 28, 2005, "Horner describes Europe as an 'opportunity.' He says it 'would be like Neil Armstrong, it's a developing untapped frontier.' He adds: 'US companies need someone they can trust, and it's just a den of thieves over there.'"
The PowerPoint document written by Horner appears to be aimed at getting RWE, the German utility company, to join a European coalition of companies to act against Kyoto...RWE says it met Horner earlier in  but that they have not taken the idea forward. Bill McAndrews, a spokesman for RWE, said: "He met with [us and] other German companies in Brussels. Brussels is the EU capital, there are a lot of people who come to meet. We have not approached him since then." He added: "RWE talks to all sorts of people. We talk with Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. We discuss matters with all opinions. It's important to hear everybody's side on such a global issue. It does not mean that RWE shares that opinion."
Horner said RWE had not taken up the suggestions contained within his presentation, and that other companies had also rejected his ideas.
"'I don't know why it's surprising [I have lobbied European companies],' he said. 'What is surprising to me is why it's not working.' Ford and RWE confirmed that they and other companies had met Horner and other advocates in Brussels last February. He had not been paid any fee nor had they contributed to his expenses. Horner apparently travelled to Europe at the request of the European Enterprise Industry, a fledgling group hoping to emulate the CEI."