Five young Europeans take states to court for signing a treaty considered climate-killing

Maya, Julia, Marion, Damien and Alexandros are between 17 and 31 years old. All five call themselves victims of climate change. The first saw its island of Saint-Martin, devastated by hurricane Irma in 2014. Marion, Julia and Damien were victims of the floods respectively in Cressier in Switzerland in June 2021, in the Ahr valley in Germany and in Chaudfontaine in Belgium in July 2021. As for Alexandros, he saw his country, Greece, crossed by dramatic fires in the summer of 2021.

Determined, they presented themselves on Tuesday June 21, 2022 at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to file a complaint against the signatory States of the Treaty for the Energy Charter (ECT). They denounce this international treaty which is accelerating climate change and constitutes a threat to their future.

TCE, kezako?

In their viewfinder we find an international agreement that is little known but which is today the subject of a lively controversy. The Energy Charter Treaty brings together twelve European countries – France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Greece, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden – and has 52 signatory countries worldwide .

Negotiated in the 1990s, it allows the multinationals of the fossil industries (oil and gas) to prevent the climate action of the States. Comment ? By taking them to private court if they believe that public policies threaten their investments, and therefore their future profits.

Once the procedure has been applied, the claims for damages against the States are colossal. The British oil and gas company Ascent Resources has claimed the sum of 100 million euros from Slovenia following the country’s ban on shale gas extraction. German companies RWE and Unipper are claiming 1.4 billion and 1 billion respectively from the Netherlands following the country’s decision to phase out coal in 2030.

A legal tool deemed “dangerous”

Together with environmental activists, the five young Europeans consider this international treaty “ dangerous ” self “incompatible with the Paris Agreements which aim to keep global warming below 1.5°C. » For them, the ECT allows multinationals to hack environmental policies, so maintaining this treaty directly threatens their future. It is in this respect that it constitutes a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, defended their lawyer Clémentine Baldon.

A petition against this treaty has been circulating since February 2021 and recently exceeded one million signatories. And the campaign against TCE is now raging on social networks. Activist Camille Etienne leads the rebellion and calls on citizens to mobilize by raising awareness of the dangers of this ecocide project. His goal ? That France decides to disengage from the TCE. His tool? The information and a hashtag: #sortonsduTCE.

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