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)

Reporterre | 16-Sep-2022
Une entreprise allemande poursuit la France au nom du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, suite à la décision du gouvernement français de réduire les tarifs de rachat de l’électricité photovoltaïque.
IISD | 15-Sep-2022
The text of the agreement in principle to modernize the Energy Charter Treaty leaves unanswered too many crucial questions about the possibility of further fossil fuel carveouts and the exact timing of its entry into force.
CNCD 11.11.11 | 14-Sep-2022
La version réformée du traité comporte des avancées qui ne sont toutefois pas suffisantes pour répondre à l’urgence climatique.
State of Power | 14-Sep-2022
The ECT Secretariat, whose survival depends on continuation of the treaty, continues to lobby these countries to take additional steps towards acceding to the Energy Charter Treaty.
Le Soir | 13-Sep-2022
Les tribunaux d’arbitrage du TCE sont au-dessus des législations nationales, des droits humains ainsi que des autres traités internationaux, comme l’Accord de Paris sur le climat. Il faut mettre un terme à cette situation ubuesque.
Novethic | 9-Sep-2022
Après l’Espagne, l’Italie ou encore l’Allemagne, c’est au tour de la France de subir de façon très concrète les foudres du Traité sur la charte de l’énergie.
The Conversation | 8-Sep-2022
It’s a portent of claims Australia may face from British companies invested in Australia’s fossil-fuel industries if the United Kingdom gets its way and joins the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Youinvest | 8-Sep-2022
Damages of £737 million are being claimed by GreenX across the two arbitrations which relate to both the Jan Karski and Debiensko mines in Poland.
Stop CETA Mercosur | 7-Sep-2022
En vertu du très controversé Traité sur la charte de l’énergie, l’État italien vient d’être condamné à verser 190 millions d’euros, plus les intérêts, à la société pétrolière britannique Rockhopper.

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