Macclesfield protestors demand UK leave fossil fuel treaty before COP26

  Posted: 20.09.21 at 12:32 by Alex Greensmith

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Local climate protestors assembled in Macclesfield at the weekend to demand the UK exit a controversial treaty that allows big fossil fuel polluters to sue governments for taking climate action.

Activists from Global Justice Macclesfield walked through the town centre unravelling blue fabric to symbolise the rising sea levels and floods that are already being seen throughout the world as a result of rising global temperatures.

Ricci Downard from GJMacclesfield said “It is now widely accepted that governments need to take action to phase out fossil fuels in order to protect the planet from irreversible damage to the ecosystems upon which all life depends.

"We want to draw attention to the Treaty that threatens to prevent Governments from taking crucial policy decisions.”

Under the Energy Charter Treaty, companies can sue governments through investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS), a system of corporate courts that allow multinationals to sue governments outside of a country’s national legal system. The UK is signed up to the Treaty.

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) blocks action to transform the fossil-fuelled energy system by allowing foreign coal, oil and gas companies to sue governments for actions that would harm their profits - including climate actions.

“For example energy companies RWE and Uniper are currently suing the Netherlands through the settlement court in the ECT for compensation as they will have to shut their coal-fired power stations following the decision in 2019 by the Netherlands to phase out coal by 2030.”

Global Justice Now is demanding that the UK exit the Energy Charter Treaty before COP26, to give the conference any chance of achieving meaningful climate targets.

Corporate courts are one of the biggest obstacles to taking climate action and securing sustainable green jobs for the future.

Fossil fuel companies – that should have paid heed to the science decades ago and led the way in transitioning to clean energy – must not be allowed to sue their way out of a green transition.

Natalie Abbott of Global Justice Macclesfield said: "we generated quite a lot of interest walking from the Green fest through Chestergate to the Town Hall and then down Mill Street on Saturday."

“We need to exit the Energy Charter Treaty before November to give the targets set at COP26 a fighting chance.”

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