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June 15, 2024
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EU Exits Energy Charter Treaty: Win for People, Environment Over Polluters

The Council of the European Union adopted the European Union’s proposal to leave the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), an international agreement protecting fossil fuel investments.

After years of campaigning for an exit, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) celebrates this victory for people, the environment, and the climate.

The cornerstone of the Energy Charter Treaty has been the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism that continues to exist in many other investment treaties. ISDS allows companies to sue governments through private arbitration courts if they pass or enforce laws that affect the companies’ investments.

CIEL’s Climate & Energy Program Director Nikki Reisch issued the following statement:

“The EU’s decision to leave the Energy Charter Treaty reflects the recognition that a regime designed to protect fossil fuel investments is fundamentally incompatible with the climate action needed to protect people and the planet. Paying polluters shouldn’t be the price for phasing out fossil fuels to prevent runaway climate change and further irreversible harm.

“This decision makes clear that States do not have to simply accept investment agreements that impede climate action; they have the ability and indeed the obligation to end or exit them.”

Hélionor de Anzizu, CIEL’s Staff Attorney issued the following statement:

“We welcome today’s adoption of the EU’s proposal to leave the Energy Charter Treaty.

“Policymakers in Europe and beyond have pressing legal duties to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, align their finance flows with climate objectives, and to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.

“This win in Europe is a milestone in the fight against the promotion of fossil fuels and investor–State dispute settlement. Today we celebrate this victory, tomorrow States  around the world need to follow suit and dismantle other investment law barriers to ending reliance on fossil fuels and securing a livable future for all.”

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