Energy & environment

Most investor-state disputes (ISDS) have concerned environmental matters. Corporations are using the ISDS system found in trade and investment agreements to challenge environmental policies. As of end of 2019, 41% of all ICSID cases were energy and natural resources-related.

Most well-known cases include:

• Lone Pine Resources (US) vs. Canada: the investor challenged Quebec’s moratorium on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. The provincial government declared the moratorium in 2011 so as to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the extraction method widely accused of leaching chemicals and gases into groundwater and the air. Case pending (NAFTA invoked).

• Bilcon (US) vs. Canada: the US industry challenged Canadian environmental requirements affecting their plans to open a basalt quarry and a marine terminal in Nova Scotia. In 2015 the ISDS tribunal decided that the government’s decision hindered the investors’ expectations. Bilcon won and received US$7 million in damages, plus interest (NAFTA invoked).

• Vattenfall (Sweden) vs. Germany: in 2007 the Swedish energy corporation was granted a provisional permit to build a coal-fired power plant near the city of Hamburg. In an effort to protect the Elbe river from the waste waters dumped from the plant, environmental restrictions were added before the final approval of its construction. The investor initiated a dispute, arguing it would make the project unviable. The case was ultimately settled in 2011, with the city of Hamburg agreeing to the lowering of environmental standards (ECT invoked).

Photo: Kris Krug / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

(March 2020)

La Jornada | 22-May-2024
México ha perdido 11 casos y ha sido obligado a pagar 296 mdd; cifra mayor al presupuesto total que México prevé en 2024 para la búsqueda de personas desaparecidas, la fiscalía de desaparición forzada y la investigación del delito de tortura.
ISDS América Latina | 21-May-2024
En 2023 México fue el país que más demandas de arbitraje de inversión recibió en el marco de tratados de protección de inversiones a nivel mundial.
Mining.com | 20-May-2024
The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled in favour of Peru in a decade-long dispute with gold dealer Kaloti Metals & Logistics, LLC.
CIAR Global | 16-May-2024
El 14 de mayo de 2024, el Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) español publicó la denuncia de España del Tratado de la Carta de la Energía (TCE) y del Protocolo de la Carta de la Energía sobre la eficacia energética y los aspectos medioambientales relacionados.
Jacobin | 6-May-2024
Companies have long used international treaties to try to prevent Global South countries from asserting economic sovereignty. In recent decades, corporations have used such laws to stymie European governments’ attempts to tackle the climate crisis.
Le Vent Se Lève | 6-May-2024
Dès l’indépendance des anciennes colonies européennes, les grandes entreprises extractivistes ont mis en œuvre des mécanismes pour y préserver leurs intérêts économiques.
El Espectador | 25-Apr-2024
Tres árbitros del Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones (CIADI) determinó que el Estado colombiano incumplió con sus obligaciones, luego de que la Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio abriera una investigación en contra de la multinacional por, supuestamente, competencias anticompetitivas.
CAN Europe | 25-Apr-2024
The European Parliament voted today largely in favour of the Commission’s proposal for the European Union to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty, a landmark move that campaigners across Europe have been demanding for years.
El Salto | 24-Apr-2024
Con una inmensa mayoría, la eurocámara vota la salida de un tratado que era incompatible con los objetivos climáticos y que España ya anunció que abandonaría.
Romania-Insider | 24-Apr-2024
Earlier this year, ICSID dismissed the claims of Gabriel Resources in the Roșia Montană case. The court also obliged the companies to pay Romania the costs of the lawsuit, as well as interest.