Greenpeace teams up with Italian citizens people to sue energy giant Eni

Greenpeace have joined forces with Italian citizens to take some of the world's biggest polluters to court.
Greenpeace have joined forces with Italian citizens to take some of the world's biggest polluters to court. Copyright Greenpeace
Copyright Greenpeace
By Ruth Wright with APTN and Reuters
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The company and the Italian government are being sued for failing to protect life.


12 Italian citizens are taking one of the world's biggest oil companies to court. They say that they are already being affected by extreme heat and that Eni are to blame.

Environmental groups Greenpeace and ReCommon are joining the citizens in the lawsuit which, if brought to court, would be the first of its kind in Italy.

What are ENI being accused of?

"The plaintiffs are ... asserting their right to claim damages for the effects of climate change, for which Italy's largest energy companies bear a heavy responsibility," Greenpeace said in a statement.

The plaintiffs claim that through their extraction of fossil fuels, Eni violated Italians' rights to life, health and undisturbed family life by pursuing an industrial policy that violated Italy’s international commitments.

In a statement, Eni said it would demonstrate in court the “groundlessness" of the lawsuit and the “correctness” of its decarbonisation 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.

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.

What does the lawsuit hope to achieve?

The complainants are 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.

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 Agreement.

Citizens are increasingly taking action against corporations

This is not the first time European citizens have taken polluters to court.

Most recently a group of senior Swiss citizens launched action against the Swiss government for failing to protect their health. It will be the first case of its kind in the European Court of Human Rights.big

Famous activist Great Thunberg is currently involved in a lawsuit against the Swedish government.

Citizens in Poland took their government to court in 2021.

Here is a full roundup of citizens in court.

This is a behind the scenes look at what it takes to bring these lawsuits together.

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