The European Renewable Energy Council is taxpayer-funded

In my blog yesterday I referred to a posting by Christopher Booker and included a quote from it which in turn included the following:

    “It was based solely on a paper co-authored last year by an employee of Greenpeace International and something called the European Renewable Energy Council. This Brussels-based body, heavily funded by the EU, lobbies the European Commission on behalf of all the main renewable industries, such as wind and solar. “

I was intrigued by this organisation the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and started doing some digging. Well, what a filthy, stinking mess!

I didn’t come across it immediately, but the whole thing has been brilliantly researched by Ben Pile of Climate Resistance fame (a blog well worth a visit) in a guest post entitled Ideological money laundering on the excellent Bishop Hill blog.

Ben has used a thing called the EU Financial Transparency system which, sadly, only lists accounts between 2007-9. It is, however a positive gold mine of information. So good, I’m amazed it exists.

Ben has found out that (and in all cases, this is 2007 – 2009 only) the following:

  • EREC were the beneficiaries of €1.8million ($2.5million) from the EU.
  • Just under €1.5 million of this gift from the EU government to a trade association was for a single project.
  • EREC and its members enjoyed gifts of at least €8.2 million between 2007-9 so that they could lobby MEPs, and do research in favour of the policies the EU had already determined it wanted.

He goes on to say:

“The question now is, what exactly is the EREC? It appears to be a council of trades associations, each representing a technology sector within the renewable energy industry. But it also seems to have been given a para-governmental role by the EU, to ‘map renewable energy pathways’ for EU member nations. Meanwhile — literally, at the same time — it produces seemingly independent research with Greenpeace.”


    “The next question to ask is this… Can an organisation that represents commercial enterprises really offer governmental organisations impartial policy advice? Imagine the furore that would ensue, were oil companies so instrumental in the design of EU policies and their implementation. Lobbying is one thing; such proximity to policy-making is quite another.”

He concludes his article, which although lengthy I urge you to read, as follows:

    “It is no surprise that the EU and governments, spurious quasi-autonomous organisations and NGOs are in cahoots. It has long been known that organisations such as Friends of the Earth and WWF are paid by the EU to lobby the EU in favour of the policies that the EU wants. And it is no surprise that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change takes research that benefits the agendas of governments. We all knew this much.

    What is surprising is the sheer scale of this shameless enterprise. We all knew that ‘grey literature’ — non-scientific and non-peer reviewed ‘research’ — found its way into IPCC reports. What surprises is the extent to which ‘grey organisations’ — para-governmental institutions with public functions, but little or no democratic accountability or transparency — are involved in the production of policy and evidence-making, benefitting a narrow industrial sector and serving a particular political agenda.

    But what really grates is that to ask questions about this process is to identify oneself as a ‘denier’, in hock to fossil energy interests and ‘well-funded’ PR organisations. Pointing out the implications for democracy and the economy when self-interested NGOs and industry-associations enjoy such privilege from government is characterised as ‘denying scientific evidence’.”

Don’t forget, we taxpayers are also funding all this…


His interest piqued by the reference to WWF and Friends of the Earth, Ben has done some more excellent research using the EU Financial Transparency system to check out a few more arrangements between the EU and NGOs:

  • Friends of the Earth took €3,010,245 from the EU between 2007-9.
  • WWF took €8,794,595 in direct payments from the EU between 2007-9.
  • WWF was also a joint beneficiary of over €28million of EU funds
  • Climate Action Network Europe received €1,514,720 from the EU between 2007-9.

That is a staggering total of €13,319,560 for just three organisations over 3 years!

Again, I urge you to read his post, which concludes thus:

    “Where we have seen relatively small sums passed between energy companies and independent think tanks, it has drawn the ire of the likes of Bob Ward, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. It should be remembered here that the Grantham Institute itself is the beneficiary of a whopping £24 million gift from Jeremy Grantham, a very rich man indeed. And also in the employ of the Grantham Institute is Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review, the document which continues to inform UK climate policy.

    I wonder how big all of this really is, and how independent the research that informs national and international policies really is. If you’ve any ideas, or find anything ‘interesting’ in the EU transparency database, or anywhere else, please mention them in the comments below.”

This is independent blogging at its best, folks. You won’t find this stuff in the MSM, and definitely not the BBC: Politicians certainly don’t want us to know this stuff.

Well done Ben.

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