What are corporate courts?
Corporate courts (more properly known as ISDS) can be written into trade rules. They enable transnational corporations to sue countries outside of the national legal system for almost anything they don’t like – banning toxic chemicals, introducing a sugary drinks tax, anti-smoking policies, capping water rates – you name it. Either the corporations want payoffs in the millions or even billions, or they use corporate courts as a threat to force governments to back down.
How corporate courts threaten climate action
Corporate courts have long been used to oppose environmental protections. Now that we are finally seeing more governments around the world begin to take long needed action to tackle the climate crisis, we are seeing more and more corporate court cases challenging those actions.
- The Netherlands is being sued by two fossil fuel companies, RWE and Uniper, for phasing out coal power
- The US is being sued by a Canadian fossil fuel company, TC Energy, after President Biden cancelled the Keystone tar sands pipeline
- One UK fossil fuel company, Ascent Resources, is suing Slovenia over fracking
- Another UK fossil fuel company, Rockhopper, is suing Italy over a ban on offshore oil drilling close to the coast
Corporate courts give fossil fuel companies the power to sue governments for taking action on the climate emergency. They are an obstacle to a clean energy transition and to achieving climate justice. We need to take a stand against them.
Foto: Flickr/Garry Knight