07.11.2023 • Climate versus arms industry

Critical raw materials for whom?

The EU Critical Raw Materials Act, or CRMA, is in the final stages of its adoption. While it is framed as the European law to secure our green and digital transitions, a new report, “Blood on the Green Deal” published today by two lobby watchdogs, the Observatoire des Multinationales in Paris and Corporate Europe Observatory in Brussels, questions those green credentials.

Published on 7 November 2023

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How the EU is boosting the mining and defense industry in the name of climate action

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Publicly presented as climate-friendly legislation, the CRM Act has turned into an "open bar" for industry, which has actively lobbied to make sure that the metals they profit from enjoy the same public support and environmental deregulations as those that are genuinely useful for the climate transition.

The report documents how the aerospace and defence industries and their allies in the Commission and in capitals have been successfully lobbying to ensure new mines will soon be opened to build weapons. In particular, the defence and aerospace sectors have made sure that the official EU list of critical minerals would indeed include aluminium and titanium, two metals that are essential to their interests but of limited use (especially titanium) for the climate transition.

Lora Verheecke, researcher from Observatoire des Multinationales, says: “Mining is a dirty business in Europe and elsewhere. Before the law is adopted, we need a real political discussion about European consumption of critical raw materials. Arms should be excluded from this usage.”

Bram Vranken, researcher from Corporate Europe Observatory and expert on the EU defence lobby adds: “The arms industry has lobbied for years to get easier access to critical materials. It has now opportunistically used the climate emergency to finally get the public support and environmental deregulation it wanted. The CRM Act will not make our economy greener, but will undoubtedly make a killing for an industry involved in exporting weapons across the world.”

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