Greenpeace Italy is suing Italian energy giant ENI for its contribution to global warming, it said Tuesday, in the latest in a raft of climate lawsuits around the world.
The environmental organization and fellow green campaigner ReCommon filed the suit along with 12 citizens from areas of Italy severely affected by extreme weather events, Greenpeace said in a statement.
The suit was “for past and potential future damages resulting from its contribution to climate change, of which ENI was well aware but chose to ignore for decades,” it said.
The lawsuit also includes ENI’s two main shareholders, the economy ministry and Italy’s state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), both of which “strongly influence the company’s policies.”
Greenpeace said ENI’s policies were “in blatant violation of the Paris Agreement” signed by Italy, which it said had direct implications for the climate commitments of companies like ENI.
“ENI scored record profits in 2022, yet it continues to invest in expanding its fossil fuels business, dismissing climate impacts and ignoring local communities,” said Chiara Campione from Greenpeace.
The plaintiffs have asked the court in Rome to rule on whether or not ENI has caused damages through “violations of their human rights to life, health, and private and family life.”
The suit is the first of its kind against a private company in Italy.
In recent years, a growing number of organizations and citizens have turned to the courts to criticize what they say is government inaction on the climate.