Uk Withdraws From Energy Charter Treaty, Following Similar Moves By Eu Countries

LONDON (AP) — Britain's government said Thursday it is withdrawing from a controversial international energy treaty after efforts to modernize it ended in stalemate.

The U.K.'s move followed similar announcements by France, Germany and other European Union countries to quit the Energy Charter Treaty, which critics say is being used by the fossil fuel industry to legally challenge governments over their climate policies.

The treaty entered into force in 1998 to protect and encourage international flows of investment in the energy sector. But a number of countries have faced costly legal challenges over reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and boosting greener energy sources.

U.K. officials said negotiations to update the treaty to better support cleaner technologies had gone on for several years, but resulted in an impasse among European countries.

”The Energy Charter Treaty is outdated and in urgent need of reform but talks have stalled and sensible renewal looks increasingly unlikely," said Graham Stuart, a minister for energy security.

“Remaining a member would not support our transition to cleaner, cheaper energy, and could even penalise us for our world-leading efforts to deliver net zero."

France and Italy announced in late 2022 that they were leaving the treaty. Other countries including Spain and the Netherlands also did the same. Britain's government said that in total it was joining nine EU member states in withdrawing.

Climate nongovernmental organizations have called for a mass EU withdrawal from the treaty. Several dozen countries are still listed as signatories on the treaty's website.