Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Copenhagen / Brussels, Monday 16 November

The damaging impacts of corporate lobbying on international efforts to fight climate change are exposed today with the announcement of the eight candidates for the Angry Mermaid Award 2009.

The Angry Mermaid Award is named after the iconic Copenhagen mermaid who is angry about the destruction being caused by climate change

Thousands of members of the public are expected to vote at between today and Sunday 13 December for the candidate which they believe has done the most to sabotage effective action to tackle climate change.

Lobby groups representing oil, coal, aviation, the chemicals industry and emissions trading are all on the shortlist for the Angry Mermaid Award 2009, alongside biotech company Monsanto, oil giant Shell and energy company Sasol.

The winner of the angry mermaid award will be announced at the Copenhagen climate talks on Tuesday 15 December 2009.

The eight nominees for the Angry Mermaid Award are:

• American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity – for pushing “clean” coal and for employing a lobby firm which ran a fraudulent letter writing campaign, sending fake letters to the US Congress on the US climate bill.

• American Petroleum Industry (API) – for spending millions of dollars on lobbying against US climate legislation, including setting up an “astroturf” campaign to create the illusion of strong grassroots opposition.

• European Chemical Lobby (Cefic) – for lobbying for free permits under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, undermining the EU’s main measure to cut carbon emissions.

• International Air Transport Association (IATA) – for promoting weak voluntary efforts to cut emissions from aviation in an attempt to pre-empt international legislation.

• International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) – for promoting emissions trading and carbon offsetting as the solution to climate change, despite the lack of evidence of real emissions cuts.

• Monsanto – a biotech giant, for lobbying for carbon credits for genetically modified crops and promoting GM crops as a solution to climate change.

• Sasol – for lobbying for carbon capture and storage as a way to clean up synfuel manufacture – where coal is converted to petrol using vast amounts of energy and generating huge levels of carbon emissions.

• Shell – for lobbying for financial and political support for carbon capture and storage while investing massively in environmentally destructive oil extraction from the Canadian tar sands.

Paul de Clerk from Friends of the Earth International, one of the groups organising the awards, said:

“All the candidates for the Angry Mermaid Award have lobbied to protect their own profits and prevent effective action to tackle climate change. As world leaders struggle to reach agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the influence of major polluters and lobbyists, and many others, needs to be exposed. We cannot tackle climate change and continue with business as usual – and that is what these companies and lobby groups want to do.”

The Angry Mermaid Award is organised by Attac Denmark, Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth International, Focus on the Global South and Spinwatch.