First ever civil lawsuit launched in Italy against energy giant ‘Eni’ for 'violation of climate change agreements'

 ROME -  Greenpeace Italia, ReCommon and 12 Italian citizens are suing energy giant Eni, as well as the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, which together control around 30 percent of the company's share capital. This marks Italy's first civil lawsuit against Eni for damage to the environment and failed to comply with climate change policy.

 Eni S.p.A. is an Italian multinational energy company headquartered in Rome. Considered one of the seven "supermajor" oil companies in the world, it has operations in 62 countries.

 According to the NGOs and these citizens, "Eni has significantly contributed to climate change with its conduct in recent decades, making us dependent on Russian gas and now on gas from other areas of the world.”

 The announcement came during a press conference: the associations and two of the citizens involved explained the reasons behind the legal action, the first of its kind against a company under private law in Italy.

 "We are contesting Eni's violation of the Paris Agreement," explained Antonio Tricarico of ReCommon, "and we want to remind you that, as several international courts have already ruled, continuing to contribute to global warming generates impacts associated with serious human rights violations. Just look at what happened with the recent flooding in Romagna.”

 They are asking Eni to be ordered to revise its industrial strategy to reduce emissions from its activities by at least 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2020 levels, "as indicated by the international scientific community to keep the average global temperature increase within 1.5 degrees Celsius according to the dictate of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

 And they are requesting that the Ministry of Economy and Finance, an influential shareholder of Eni, “be obliged to adopt a climate policy in line with the Paris Agreement.”

 As lawyer Alessandro Gariglio explained, “what we see today is the effect of what has been done over the decades. So the goal is to avoid finding ourselves in a much worse situation in 20 years' time.” 30 November 2023 has been set as the date for the first hearing.

 The initiative, promoted by the #LaGiustaCausa campaign, is part of the so-called climate litigation, whose total number, globally, has more than doubled since 2015.