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1 Sep 2023

Damian Carrington, Guardian

UK minister announces plan to quit Energy Charter Treaty

'UK could quit ‘climate-wrecking’ treaty, minister announces', 1 September 2023

The UK could pull out of the international energy charter treaty if attempts to reform it fail, the energy minister, Graham Stuart, has said.

The energy charter treaty (ECT) is a system of secret courts that enables companies to sue governments over policies that would cut their future profits. Companies have sued over phasing out coal-fired power stations, ending offshore oil drilling and banning fracking, with some receiving large taxpayer-funded payouts.

Critics of the ECT include the European Union, which says staying in the treaty would “clearly undermine” climate targets. France, Germany, Spain and eight other countries have already said they will leave and the EU is also set to pull out en masse. The UK and Japan are the only major economies not to have committed to exiting the ECT.

The UK has been a “strong advocate” of reforming the treaty but the intention to leave it by numerous countries has created an impasse. Stuart said that if the reforms were not passed by November, the UK would consider withdrawal...

...Cleodie Rickard, trade campaign manager at Global Justice Now, said: “It is welcome to hear the UK is finally willing to review its membership of the climate-wrecking ECT. But putting off the decision until November looks like an attempt to keep the UK sitting on the fence.”

“The reform process to this treaty has failed,” she said. “Eleven countries are voting with their feet and exiting, meaning there is not enough support to get the so-called modernisation through. Rather than more dither and delay, the UK should be joining a co-ordinated withdrawal now to maximise the benefits of leaving this damaging deal.”...