Condemnation of Energy Charter Treaty could ‘light the path’ for the rest of the UK, say climate campaigners

Condemnation of Energy Charter Treaty could ‘light the path’ for the rest of the UK, say climate campaigners

Date: 17 October 2023
Campaigns: Climate, Trade

CLIMATE campaigners have welcomed the passing of a resolution at today’s SNP conference that condemned the secretive ‘Energy Charter Treaty’. The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is an international agreement between 50 countries that fossil fuel companies have used to sue countries over future lost profits resulting from progressive climate measures.

The resolution stated the conference “deplored” the treaty, citing the already “massive, unprecedented” profits made by fossil fuel industries while “people endure the worst fuel poverty and cost of living crisis on record; people the world over experience accelerating and worsening climate chaos.”

The resolution added that although energy is a reserved matter, “the SNP and Scottish Government should stand resolutely in opposition to the climate harming ECT and pressure the Westminster parliament to withdraw from it as our European neighbours have already done.”

It also called on the Scottish Government to commit to not accepting Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in any future trade deal. ISDS clauses enable companies to sue states in secret courts outside of national legal systems, when the company believes its profits could be affected by government policies or parliamentary decisions.

Research has shown that staying in the ECT places the UK at risk of potential ECT compensation claims totaling $5.3 billion and suggests that the UK could benefit the most from ECT termination. Eleven countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Ireland have already decided to exit the treaty, with the European Commission proposing a coordinated EU withdrawal in July.

Polling by Yonder Consulting, commissioned by Global Justice Now revealed that less than 1 in 10 of the UK public believe the UK should remain a member of the Energy Charter Treaty.

Jane Herbstritt, campaign officer at Global Justice Now Scotland said:

“We welcome the news that today’s resolution opposing the climate-wrecking Energy Charter Treaty has passed. This anti-democratic treaty is keeping the UK, including Scotland, in a straitjacket, hindering our ability to take climate policies that work for our communities and planet forward.

“Not only does it make no moral sense to remain a member – it makes no economic sense either, which countries across Europe have already realised. The Scottish Government must now follow this example and call on Westminster to exit the ECT.  Scotland’s example could light the path for the UK Government finally deliver on what people in Scotland and across the UK want.”