UK & Switzerland accused of undermining green reforms to Energy Charter Treaty
'UK, Switzerland accused of undermining EU green treaty reforms', 25 January 2022
"Both countries have not supported the European Commission’s attempts to end protections for investments in fossil fuels in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and are not planning to withdraw from the treaty if the reforms are rejected.
Campaigners accused the UK and Switzerland of trying to tempt EU-based fossil fuel firms to relocate their official headquarters so that they can continue to sue governments over climate action even if the EU withdraws from the ECT.
Friends of the Earth’s Paul de Clerck said: “Law firms are advising their clients to restructure their investments through countries that do not phase out [the] protection of fossil fuel investments so they can continue to file [investor-state dispute settlement] cases.”
“The UK and Switzerland seem to be betting on becoming such safe havens. This shows how perverse this system is. These countries still prioritise protecting fossil fuel companies instead of fighting climate change,” he added.
Yamina Saheb, who used to head the ECT energy efficiency unit and now monitors negotiations, said: “It is likely that the UK will become a host state for investors using this treaty to sue EU countries for the phase out of fossil fuels. It’s a complete madness for the host country of Cop26 [climate talks]”.
Climate Action Network’s Cornelia Maarfield said: “The UK and Swiss stands on ECT reform take climate hypocrisy to a new level.”..."