Lawyers warn trade dispute clauses could hamper climate action

Government efforts to cut CO2 emissions through measures such as phasing out coal or carbon taxes could be blocked by multinationals using investor state dispute settlement clauses, lawyers warn

Government efforts to cut CO2 emissions through measures such as phasing out coal or carbon taxes could be blocked by multinationals using investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses in trade deals, environmental lawyers have warned amid ongoing UN talks.

Amandine Van den Berghe, of the campaign group Client Earth, said on Wednesday that the presence of ISDS provisions – which allow companies to use international arbitration to seek compensation for financial losses they blame on national policy – in some 3,000 trade agreements worldwide poses a “specific threat” to the fight against climate change.

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