Greenpeace and an environmental coalition including 12 Italian citizens are suing Italian energy company ENI, accusing it of knowingly contributing to climate change.
The complaint names ENI as well as its two biggest shareholders, the Italian Economy Ministry and the Italian state lender and public investment bank, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. It’s seeking past and future damages as a result of “climate change to which ENI has significantly contributed by its conduct in recent decades, while being aware of it,” according to a statement from Greenpeace Italy.
In a statement, ENI said it would demonstrate in court the “groundlessness” of the lawsuit and the “correctness” of its decarbonization strategy, which it said was balancing sustainability, energy security and competitiveness.
ENI also said it would consider legal action on its own against one of the plaintiffs, ReCommon, for alleged defamation.
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Numerous lawsuits have been filed in recent years by government entities and others against oil companies, often alleging they misled people on climate change and seeking to force them to help pay for the damages caused by climate change and the costs of adapting to it.
The Italian litigation, initiated by Greenpeace Italia, the ReCommon group and 12 Italians who say they have already been affected by rising temperatures, is asking the Rome tribunal to find that ENI violated Italians’ human rights to life, health and undisturbed family life by pursuing an industrial policy that violated Italy’s international commitments.
The plaintiffs are also asking the court to oblige ENI to change its industrial strategy to reduce emissions by at least 45% by 2030 compared to 2020 levels to keep the average global temperature increase within 1.5 degrees Celsius, as called for by the Paris Climate Agreement.