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)

| 28-Mar-2022
The question is whether states wish to cede a significant portion of their sovereignty to ISDS tribunals, giving them the authority to decide which state measures taken in the public interest are legitimate.
EU Observer | 24-Mar-2022
Environmentalists and energy experts have been warning for years over an obscure trade deal that could lock Europe into decades of fossil fuel use.
Diario Financiero | 21-Mar-2022
En 2019 el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones falló que el gobierno de Pakistán debía pagar US$ 5.900 millones a la empresa Tethyan Copper Company.
Breageek News | 21-Mar-2022
Barrick Gold a mis fin à un différend de longue date avec le Pakistan et va maintenant commencer à développer l’un des plus grands projets miniers d’or et de cuivre au monde.
The Express Tribune | 21-Mar-2022
In 2019, the ICSID tribunal had given an award over $6 billion against Pakistan to the TCC. At the same time, the London Court of Arbitration also imposed another $4 billion fine on Pakistan.
The Express Tribune | 17-Mar-2022
Washington DC’s District Court has dismissed Pakistan’s motions for stay enforcement of $6 billion award against the country in Reko Diq case.
Natural Gas World | 17-Mar-2022
It now says legislators are amending Slovenia’s mining law to further restrict "all forms of hydraulic stimulation", and this could increase damages it is due under its arbitration claim.
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).

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