Rising number of climate-related court cases worldwide
In a landmark case that underscores the pressing need for climate action, major Italian oil company Eni is facing Italy's first climate lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by twelve Italian citizens, Greenpeace Italy, and advocacy group ReCommon, accuses Eni of knowingly contributing to climate change through lobbying and deceptive practices, despite being aware of the risks associated with fossil fuels since 1970, according to The Guardian.
The plaintiffs, which include influential shareholders such as the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the development bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A., contend that Eni's policies violate the Paris Agreement. They are seeking compensation for past and potential future damages caused by Eni's actions. The lawsuit emphasizes the need for Eni to align its industrial strategy with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including a minimum 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 compared to 2020 levels.
This legal action comes as a response to Eni's continued investment in expanding its fossil fuels business, despite record profits in 2022. The plaintiffs argue that Eni's dismissal of climate impacts and its failure to prioritize the well-being of local communities in Italy and worldwide is unacceptable. Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon have uncovered evidence, including a study commissioned by Eni's own research center in the late 1960s, warning of the imminent climate crisis resulting from the burning of fossil fuels and the subsequent accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The lawsuit highlights the significance of the climate crisis and its implications for global society, as well as its connection to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate action is central to achieving SDG 13 (Climate Action), which aims to combat climate change and its impacts. By holding Eni accountable for its contributions to climate change, the lawsuit promotes sustainability and emphasizes the importance of aligning industrial practices with the Paris Agreement's objectives, in line with SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
The increasing number of climate-related lawsuits worldwide reflects the growing recognition of the urgent need to address the impacts of the climate crisis. Over 2,000 climate cases have been filed globally since 2015, primarily by non-governmental organizations and individuals advocating for the rights of those affected by climate change. This surge in legal actions underscores the determination of civil society to hold corporations accountable for their role in exacerbating the climate crisis.
The connection between the Eni lawsuit and the vision of a global society striving for sustainability is evident. By demanding a revision of Eni's industrial strategy and urging the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance to adopt ambitious climate policies, the plaintiffs emphasize the crucial role of corporate and governmental actions in achieving climate goals and fostering a resilient and equitable future for all. The lawsuit also highlights the need for collaborative efforts between civil society, corporations, and governments to address the climate crisis, aligning with the spirit of SDG 17.
The outcome of Italy's first climate lawsuit against Eni holds significant implications for the global fight against climate change. It serves as a wake-up call for the oil industry and other major corporations, emphasizing the importance of transparency, accountability, and sustainable practices. By addressing the urgency of the climate crisis through legal means, the plaintiffs and their supporters are driving progress towards a more sustainable and resilient world.