The Energy Charter Treaty has been in force since 1998
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – It’s a dated tool, which made sense 30 years ago but today it only serves the industry to slow the ecological transition. That is why EU governments must stop the billionaire lawsuits against their climate policies and abandon the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). This is the crux of the case that five young Europeans are bringing to the European Court of Human Rights today.
They come from countries such as Germany and Belgium, which have recently been plagued by climate disasters made more intense and frequent by climate change of anthropic origin. And they ask the European Court for a ruling that will protect their rights and order the 12 governments involved to get rid of all the obstacles in the fight against the climate crisis that depend on the Energy Charter Treaty.
Energy Charter Treaty brings together 54 members from around the world and 40 countries with observer status and is designed to protect investments through the Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.
Under the treaty, companies that feel they are suffering damage from the energy and climate policies of states can drag them into court and bring billionaire lawsuits by accessing international arbitration.
A mechanism designed to protect the industry during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Which is now being abused by large energy companies. The German RWE, for example, last year asked the Netherlands for international arbitration after the government’s decision to accelerate the phase-out of coal, a move that would obviously have reduced the company’s profits.
According to the five complainants, the Energy Charter Treaty violates Article 2 on the right to life and Article 8 on respect for private and family life of the European Convention on Human Rights. For the first time, the Strasbourg court will be called upon to consider a case involving ECT. All this while the EU is engaged – at least formally – in the slow and cumbersome process of reform of the Treaty, even if several Member States are pressing directly to abandon ECT.