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Individuals and NGOs vs Corporations in the pursuit of climate accountability. In the spotlight: the Italian oil major ENI

Nedeva, Stanislava ORCID: 2023. Individuals and NGOs vs Corporations in the pursuit of climate accountability. In the spotlight: the Italian oil major ENI. Oil, Gas & Energy Law Journal 1
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In May 2023, a lawsuit was filed against ENI by twelve Italian citizens from affected regions, Greenpeace Italy, and ReCommon. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit seek to recover past and potential future damages resulting from ENI’s contribution to climate change, of which ENI was allegedly well aware but chose to ignore for decades. This lawsuit is the first of its kind in Italy where climate litigation is commenced against a private business. Yet, it is illustrative of the growing awareness of climate change and engagement not only by NGOs, but also citizens in climate change action firstly, against governments and lately, against business enterprises. While a first hearing is expected in October 2023 by the Court of Rome, the mere filing of this lawsuit demonstrates the growing and pressing demands against carbon emission ‘offenders’ to take feasible and significant steps towards carbon neutrality. Hence, the potential impacts of the lawsuit could be two-fold: direct - in terms of the court setting a new precedent, encouraging policy-making, and overall developing climate law domestically or even internationally; and indirect, affecting detrimentally ENI’s competitive and financial position, bringing greater awareness of dangerous climate change. This paper analyses the motivation and legal foundation behind this lawsuit and the nature of the claims made. It further argues that whilst claims against corporations such as ENI are a welcome step towards signalling that private enterprises have their fair share of responsibility to take in the context of the detrimental effects on the climate, such has to be complemented by legislative measures and clear enforcement mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: In Press
Schools: Law
Cardiff Law & Politics
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Additional Information: Special Issue on "Climate Litigation and the Energy Sector".
Publisher: OGEL
ISSN: 1875-418X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 March 2024
Date of Acceptance: 1 September 2023
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2024 07:50

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