On November 15, the CCPA joined more than 380 civil society organizations from over 60 countries in calling on governments attending the COP27 climate summit in Egypt to put an end to a system of secretive investment tribunals that threatens global climate goals.
The system is known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, and it is included in many Canadian trade and investment agreements. ISDS empowers transnational corporations to sue governments in secretive tribunals to contest laws and policy changes that they claim undermine their investment or profitability.
For more on the ISDS regime:
- The Rise and Demise of NAFTA Chapter 11, by Scott Sinclair (April 2021)
- On the Offensive: How Canadian companies use trade and investment treaties to bully foreign governments for billions, by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (May 2022)
Fossil fuel corporations have used ISDS to sue over coal phase-outs, the cancellation of a tar sands oil pipeline, a ban on offshore oil drilling, and fracking regulation. Industry insiders themselves expect these cases may be only a foretaste, given the scale of fossil fuel stranded assets.
This year’s IPCC report from climate scientists was clear that ISDS risks blocking the phase-out of fossil fuels. Following last year’s UN climate conference, COP26, governments acknowledged that they had not joined climate initiatives or had set climate less ambitious climate targets goals to avoid the risk of being sued under ISDS.
The civil society statement today calls on governments to scrap existing deals with ISDS, stop negotiating new ones, and explore alternatives that better balance investor and public interests.
For more information, contact Stuart Trew, director of the CCPA's Trade and Investment Research Project, at [email protected].