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Fossil Fuel Investment Protection and the Risks for Climate Action

This webinar analyzed the trends in investor–state disputes initiated by fossil fuel investors and discussed what they mean for climate action.

June 23, 2022 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm CEST

(Open to public)

Click Here for the Presentation by Lea Di Salvatore

In response to the climate crisis, policy-makers across the globe are stepping up their efforts to adopt adequate regulations and policies to phase out fossil fuels. However, foreign investments in fossil fuel projects are granted extensive protection under current international investment law. This includes access to investorstate dispute settlement—a mechanism that allows investors to bring expensive claims to international tribunals to mitigate losses they incur from regulatory measures adopted by host countries. 

This webinar discussed the findings of a recent report published by IISD, Investor–State Disputes in the Fossil Fuel Industry, which shows that the fossil fuel industry has relied heavily on international investment law to protect its assets. In addition, the industry is increasingly using it to counteract important climate and environmental regulations—and these claims are likely to rise as more and more governments implement climate measures in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.  

Our panel of experts presented the report’s key findings and discussed their implications for sustainable policy-making. What effect will the investorstate dispute settlement process have on global efforts to achieve tangible climate goals? And what can be done to overcome the legal barriers that obstruct climate action?



  • Lukas Schaugg, International Law Analyst, Economic Law and Policy Program, IISD


  • Lea Di Salvatore, PhD Researcher, School of Law, University of Nottingham; Report Author
  • Greg Muttitt, Co-Lead, Sustainable Energy Supplies, IISD
  • Kyla Tienhaara, Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment, Queen's University
  • Bart-Jaap Verbeek, Researcher, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)

Interested in learning more?

This webinar is part of IISD's work to address the rules and institutions in investment law and policy that are undermining efforts to achieve sustainable development goals. This includes our work on the Energy Charter Treaty—the most employed international investment agreement in fossil fuel arbitrations. Learn more about the Energy Charter Treaty and what's at stake in the following resources:

  • Video: What Is the Energy Charter Treaty and What Does it Mean for Sustainable Development?
  • Article: How the Energy Charter Treaty Risks Undermining the Outcomes of COP 26
  • Webinar: Aligning Investment and Climate Goals: Where does the Energy Charter Treaty modernization stand?

IISD also hosts the first permanent Secretariat of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), an international partnership seeking to facilitate the phase out of oil and gas production. Read more about BOGA here.

Webinar details