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24 Jun 2022

Frédéric Simon, Euractiv

Energy Charter Treaty reform called a 'betrayal' by campaigners

'EU, UK win fossil fuel ‘carve-out’ in Energy Charter Treaty deal', 24 June 2022

"Environmental groups and some EU countries like Spain have decried the Energy Charter Treaty for violating the goals of the Paris Agreement by offering legal protection to climate-wrecking fossil fuel investments. That was acknowledged by the European Commission, which called the ECT “outdated” and started negotiating a reform of the treaty on behalf of the 27 EU member states four years ago.

In 2019, member states asserted the EU’s “right to regulate” as part of the ECT reform talks and called on the modernised treaty to reflect the bloc’s climate and clean energy goals. Those objectives were partly met in the deal announced on Friday.

“The carve-out means that there shouldn’t be fossil fuel investment protection within the EU based on the Energy Charter,” said an official briefing the press about the deal on Thursday. Legal protection for new investments in fossil fuels will cease to apply “after 15 August 2023” with “limited exceptions,” according to a summary of the agreement published by a senior ECT official on social media...

...Environmentalists decried the 10-year transition period for existing investments as a “betrayal” to future generations who are expected to suffer the most from the impact of climate change. “In other words, it is the end of the EU climate neutrality objective,” said Yamina Saheb, a former ECT employee who now campaigns for Europe to withdraw from the treaty...

...But campaigners were not thrilled. “The agreement is a disaster as it will lock the EU in fossil fuel investment protection for at least another decade and till 2040 for new gas infrastructure,” said Paul de Clerck, trade campaigner at Friends of the Earth..."