New Internationalist

Caught in the act

March 2008

The disgraceful behaviour of German car manufacturers BMW, Daimler and Porsche has won them the ‘Worst EU Lobbying’ Award 2007. Their joint offensive to water down and delay the CO2 emission reduction targets proposed by the European Commission (EC) was deemed to be the worst and most deceptive by voters across Europe. ‘When the Commission proposed compulsory CO2 targets,’ explains Erik Wesselius from Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), ‘the car companies reacted with a campaign full of misinformation and scaremongering. Decision-makers were manipulated with grossly exaggerated threats of factory closures and job losses.’ The runners-up for this most dubious of honours were the European Public Affairs Consultancies Association for its high-profile campaign against the EC’s plans for a lobby transparency register, and PR consultancy Cabinet Stewart for running a fake European think-tank that serves as a front organization for opponents of the Kyoto Protocol.

At the same ceremony, BAE Systems’ laughable ‘eco-bullets’ were pipped to the post by the German Atomic Forum, which won a special prize for ‘Worst EU Greenwash 2007’. The lobby group was named and shamed for its ad campaign to improve its industry’s image. ‘The German Atomic Forum took advantage of the public’s concern about climate change to promote nuclear energy,’ says Ulrich Mueller from LobbyControl. ‘The one-sided ads use idyllic pictures of nature to gain public acceptance of longer lifespans for old nuclear power plants, ignoring the associated risks.’

This column was published in the March 2008 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 409

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