terça-feira, outubro 23, 2007

Bad Lobbies

Thousands of corporate lobbyists roam the corridors of power in Brussels. Operating out of the spotlights, many of them do not hesitate to employ problematic methods, like pretending to be concerned environmentalists, buying science, secretly funding anarcho-capitalist think-tanks, or securing privileged access by EU bodies. As lobbying veteran Daniel Guéguen predicted a few years ago: “in the future [...] we will tend to adopt ever tougher lobbying strategies [...] that will probably involve practices such as manipulation, destabilisation or disinformation.”

Naming and shaming is one way to discourage such controversial lobbying practices, and this is the raison d’être for the ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Awards. The awards also show the need for strong EU lobbying transparency and ethics rules. EU citizens have the right to know who is lobbying the EU institutions, who they represent, what budget they have at their disposal and which policies they try to influence.

Example: German Atomic Forum

Nominated for abusing the public’s concern about climate change in order to promote nuclear energy.

Behind the seemingly pathetic slogan, “Germany’s unloved climate protectionists”, lie the German Atomic Forum (representing Germany’s big energy corporations as well as manufacturers of nuclear equipment). This slogan, masquerading like an appeal for sympathy, launched their greenwash campaign in early 2007. The campaign targeted leading media outlets and included posters, a booklet distributed in several magazines and a website, with the shameless domain www.klimaschuetzer.de (climate protectionists).

This slogan masks a more sinister campaign to improve the public’s perception of nuclear energy. It aims to portray it as the clean energy source of the future and postpone the closure of the oldest nuclear power plants in Germany. The slogan is supported by wholesome images of the natural environment; unpolluted and unspoilt, with happy people or sheep, against the seemingly benign backdrop of an old nuclear power plant, creating the impression of glorious harmony. The campaign is an outstanding example of European wide efforts by the nuclear lobby to use climate change to improve the image of nuclear power plants.

If you want to shed a healthy dose of cynicism on this attempt to distort nuclear power’s real effects, show the German Atomic Forum just how ‘unloved’ they really are by voting for them now!

In fact the German Atomic Forum won the "Worst EU Greenwash Award 2007".