Energy & environment

Most investor-state disputes (ISDS) have concerned environmental matters. Corporations are using the ISDS system found in trade and investment agreements to challenge environmental policies. As of end of 2019, 41% of all ICSID cases were energy and natural resources-related.

Most well-known cases include:

• Lone Pine Resources (US) vs. Canada: the investor challenged Quebec’s moratorium on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. The provincial government declared the moratorium in 2011 so as to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the extraction method widely accused of leaching chemicals and gases into groundwater and the air. Case pending (NAFTA invoked).

• Bilcon (US) vs. Canada: the US industry challenged Canadian environmental requirements affecting their plans to open a basalt quarry and a marine terminal in Nova Scotia. In 2015 the ISDS tribunal decided that the government’s decision hindered the investors’ expectations. Bilcon won and received US$7 million in damages, plus interest (NAFTA invoked).

• Vattenfall (Sweden) vs. Germany: in 2007 the Swedish energy corporation was granted a provisional permit to build a coal-fired power plant near the city of Hamburg. In an effort to protect the Elbe river from the waste waters dumped from the plant, environmental restrictions were added before the final approval of its construction. The investor initiated a dispute, arguing it would make the project unviable. The case was ultimately settled in 2011, with the city of Hamburg agreeing to the lowering of environmental standards (ECT invoked).

Photo: Kris Krug / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

(March 2020)

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Natural Gas World | 17-Mar-2022
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CIAR Global | 16-Mar-2022
El informe por Climate Change Counsel muestra que las cuestiones relativas al cambio climático y a la transición energética han estado ausentes de los laudos arbitrales en el marco del Tratado sobre la Carta de la Energía.
Climate Change Counsel | 15-Mar-2022
In 2021-22, Climate Change Counsel conducted a study of arbitral awards rendered under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
DLA Piper | 11-Mar-2022
Recent reforms in the French solar energy market mean that investors need to take action to protect their investments.
No a los TCI | 10-Mar-2022
Un nuevo análisis del Instituto Internacional para el Desarrollo Sostenible (IISD) alerta de que los compromisos climáticos adoptados en Glasgow corren peligro para los países firmantes del TCE debido a su impacto en las inversiones fósiles.
La República | 9-Mar-2022
El bufete Arnold & Porter fue contratado para defender el país en un tribunal internacional.
Michael West | 4-Mar-2022
The gold mine was closed by the Thai government, but an obscure clause in a “free trade” agreement has allowed the lucrative mine in Central Thailand to reopen.
Both Ends | 4-Mar-2022
From a climate perspective, the expected reform outcome is a failure. No Contracting Party will end investment protection for fossil fuels in a timeline that is necessary to align with the Paris Agreement.
Inequality.org | 3-Mar-2022
An attempted assassination, criminalization, and violent eviction in 2014 didn’t stop the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya in Guatemala, which won legal action suspending harmful mining activities.

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