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Climate change

Responding to climate change

Not only do corporations have an important role to play in the response to global warming, but climate change also presents a series of commercial opportunities and risks.

New regulation creates a compliance challenge for business. And a wave of climate change-related claims is building that are using conventional and novel case theories in the courts, arbitration and national contact point systems.

As governments incentivise the switch to green energy, new investment opportunities emerge. Novel financial instruments are being developed that bring together responsible investors and companies. And at the same time, asset managers and activists are pressurising boards to divest their high-carbon assets.

We are advising our clients as they future-proof their businesses in the transition to a low-carbon economy. We ensure they stay ahead of evolving regulation, minimise climate change-related claims risk, and help them decarbonise their portfolios and invest in green technologies.

To discuss how we can help you respond to these challenges, or to learn more about our work in this space, please get in touch with our team or your usual Freshfields contact.

Client successes

Defending RWE in a landmark case brought by Peruvian farmer Saúl Luciano Lliuya in the German courts. 

The suit alleges that RWE, having knowingly contributed to climate change, bears some responsibility for the melting of mountain glaciers near Mr Lliuya’s home town of Huaraz. Mr Lliuya has asked for a declaration from the court that RWE is obliged to reimburse him for a portion of the costs should he or the Huaraz authorities need to pay for flood protections in the future to protect Mr Lliuya’s property.

Representing a major German financial services company in investment arbitration proceedings against Spain under the Energy Charter Treaty arising in connection with investments in the renewable energy sector, which suffered substantial losses due to Spanish regulatory action.

Advising Neptune Energy Group – an investment platform led by former Centrica CEO Sam Laidlaw and backed by funds advised by affiliates of Carlyle and CVC – on its €4.7bn acquisition of Engie E&P International, the French utility’s upstream oil and gas division.