Briefing: Corporate courts vs the climate
Climate finance for low-income countries is already abysmally insufficient. But thanks to corporate courts, rich countries could end up paying nearly as much to fossil fuel companies as they do to help countries in the global south respond to the climate crisis.
- Just five fossil fuel corporations are demanding over US$18bn through ‘corporate court’ tribunals from governments over climate policies.
- This is almost equivalent to the entire net annual climate funding provided by rich countries to the developing world, which Oxfam assessesas US$19-22bn.Behind the corporate court system are specialist investment law firms, for whom the UK is a hub.
- Law firms in the UK are representing the fossil fuel companies in these climate-related cases.
Most of these cases are being brought through a giant corporate court deal called the Energy Charter Treaty. Corporate courts can be used to undermine and vastly inflate the cost of climate action, suing governments into a state of climate paralysis.
The UK government should get rid of corporate courts, starting by exiting the Energy Charter Treaty before COP 26.