UK joins series of govts abandoning anti-climate Energy Charter Treaty

In a strong victory for unions and the climate movement, the United Kingdom has joined France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands in withdrawing from the ECT; a controversial agreement which allows fossil fuel companies to sue governments over climate policies.

The move comes after the UK government's own attempts to align the charter with its net zero emissions plans failed.

Unions across the world have been instrumental in pushing governments to abandon the treaty by exposing the damaging impact on climate transition measures.

Under the treaty, many countries have been forced to pay huge sums in compensation to polluting corporations for climate-friendly policies through Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms. By protecting investments in coal mines, oil fields and gas pipelines, the ECT has posed a significant obstacle to achieving the Paris Agreement.

PSI General Secretary Daniel Bertossa said:

"The abandonment of the ECT by more and more countries demonstrates the fundamental incompatibility between trade rules written in the interests of corporations and the urgent climate policies we need to drive the green transition.

The Energy Charter is a sinking ship and it's time for all governments to abandon it for good. ISDS measures must also be removed from all existing and future trade agreements."

Despite withdrawing from the ECT, the UK government is continuing attemps to join the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which includes ISDS clauses and other damaging measures.

"As the World Trade Organisation's Ministerial Conference gets underway, the last thing our governments should be doing is trading away more essential policy space in the name of 'investment facilitation," Bertossa said.

PSI strongly encourages all affiliates to use our template letter to reach out to their trade ministries and embassies to urge the abandonment of damaging new proposed WTO measures under negotiation at the Ministerial Conference next week.

Busting the myths around the Energy Charter Treaty

This guide aims to help activists, concerned citizens, journalists and policymakers confront pro-ECT propaganda. It identifies the ECT’s defenders and their arguments, and offers deeply researched counter-evidence.

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