Energy Charter Treaty

Thank you for your email regarding the Energy Charter Treaty. I very much appreciate you taking the time to contact me on this important matter. 

My Scottish Labour colleagues and I are fully committed to working towards Scotland achieving our 2045 net zero target and recognise this will need far bolder and more ambitious policies than those currently being pursued by both there UK and Scottish Governments.

We also need to see more action internationally and unfortunately COP27 has once again falling short in delivering what we need to keep global warming to the already devastating 1.5 degrees. The Energy Charter Treaty is unquestionably currently just one barrier to meaningful action and needs overhauled to prioritise the climate by ending protections given for fossil fuel companies and ensuring that urgent climate action can be taken by Governments.

Achieving a rapid global transition to net zero and delivering energy security both require international cooperation and countries working together. I believe that the best way to deliver this is through fundamental reform of the Energy Charter Treaty as a matter of priority, and the UK must show global leadership by being at the forefront of the reform efforts. If this can’t be achieved then withdrawing from the Treaty would be a last resort. However, it is important to recognise that even if a country withdraws from the treaty, its terms are still in place when it comes to any agreements made before withdrawal.   

My colleague, Colin Smyth MSP, who is our Net Zero and Energy spokesperson, has put in a question to the Scottish Government to ask what conversations they have had with the UK Government regarding reform of the Energy Charter Treaty.

The climate crisis cannot be tackled without global cooperation and agreements such as the Energy Charter Treaty can provide opportunities for us to work together towards our common goal of a just transition to net zero. But we need to get these treaties right and I agree that is not the case with the current Energy Charter Treaty.

We also need to lead by example at home. You may be interested to read Scottish Labour’s own Climate Recovery Plan, which can be found here. It is an ambitious statement of our intent to address the drivers of climate change in Scotland, with many of the commitments matching recommendations made by the Climate Assembly.

Thank you again for your e mail.