The European Parliament today approved the deals reached with EU member countries in late 2022 on several key pieces of legislation that are part of the “Fit for 55 in 2030 package”, the EU’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in line with the European Climate Law. The 27 EU countries are collectively the third largest emitter of GHGs globally. The legislation now requires final approval from EU member countries over the course of the next few weeks. This bulletin summarizes key highlights from the legislation adopted today: EU ETS strengthened. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted to reform the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which will now require GHG emissions in covered sectors to be reduced by 62% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The reforms also phase out free allowances starting in 2026 and place a price on GHG emissions from road transport and buildings starting in 2027 or 2028 (termed ETS II).  Moreover, the ETS will be expanded to cover GHG emissions from the maritime sector, and revised for aviation, phasing out free allowances for the sector by 2026 and promoting the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).  CBAM rules adopted. MEPs adopted the rules for the new EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which aims to incentivize non-EU countries to increase their climate ambition while ensuring that EU and global climate efforts are not undermined by carbon leakage (production being relocated from the EU to countries with less ambitious policies). The goods covered by CBAM are iron, steel, cement, aluminium, fertilizers, electricity, hydrogen, and indirect emissions under certain conditions. Importers of these goods would have to pay any price difference between the carbon price paid in the country of production and the price of carbon allowances in the EU…

The Globe and Mail reports on growing support in Europe for withdrawing from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) as the threat of multibillion-euro lawsuits by fossil fuel investors intensifies. The increasing costs associated with claims under the ECT may also put the ambitions of the Paris Agreement at risk if signatories choose to allow fossil fuel companies to continue to emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) instead of paying compensation for lost investments.   The ECT was drafted and signed, as the Soviet Union was dissolving, to protect European energy firms entering Russia and former Soviet Republics. The intent of the ECT was to allow investors to sue governments for policies affecting their new investments. The ECT is quickly becoming a vehicle for claims by fossil fuel companies to attempt to recoup losses from their investments as a result of climate action and the decarbonization of economies across Europe. It is estimated that claims brought by fossil fuel companies seeking compensation for climate policies could reach €1.3 trillion by 2050. Remaining subject to the compensation mechanism of the ECT could result in large payouts to fossil fuel companies unless countries choose to allow them to continue to emit GHGs for at least another decade under the terms of the ECT.   Four claims have already been brought under the compensation mechanism of the ECT, with a combined total of more than €2.5B.  A similar claim, against the US government for $15B USD, was brought by TC Energy for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline as a NAFTA legacy claim. For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at lisa@resilientllp.com.