The plaintiffs are asking the court to oblige Eni to change its industrial strategy to cut emissions by at least 45% by 2030, compared to 2020 levels.
Twelve Italian nationals have sued Eni, one of the world’s largest oil companies, stating that they are “affected by the warming caused by climate change, and Eni is responsible for that”.
Citizens have been joined by Greenpeace in the lawsuit filed, which will be the first of its kind in Italy.
The organization said, in a statement, that “the plaintiffs affirm their right to claim compensation for the effects of climate change, for which the largest Italian energy companies bear great responsibility.”
The plaintiffs allege that by extracting fossil fuels, “Eni violated the rights of Italians to life and health by pursuing an industrial policy in violation of Italy’s international obligations.”
The response of the oil company Eni
Eni said in a statement that it would prove in court the “invalidity” of the lawsuit and the “correctness” of its decarbonization strategy, which it said balances sustainability, energy security and competitiveness.
Eni also added that it would consider taking legal action on its own against one of the plaintiffs for alleged defamation.
The complaint includes the name of Eni in addition to the Italian Ministry of Economy and the country’s Public Investment Bank.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages as a result of “climate change to which Eni has contributed significantly through its behavior in recent decades, knowing it,” according to a statement from Greenpeace.
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°C.
Citizens are increasingly taking action against companies. Recently, a group of elderly Swiss launched action against the Swiss government for failing to protect their health.