When the Netherlands’ highest court upheld a lower judgment compelling the Dutch government to take stronger action to curb climate change in 2019, it seemed like a new dawn for climate action. To heed the judge’s order requiring the government to slash the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% compared to 1990 levels, Dutch officials adopted a law that would phase out the burning of coal for electricity generation by 2030.

But in February of 2021, Europe’s largest carbon emitter, RWE, filed a €1.4 billion arbitration claim against the Dutch government over the lack of compensation provided under the phaseout bill for the closure of the German energy giant’s local power plant. In April, Uniper, another large German energy company, filed a similar claim, seeking €2.6 billion in compensation.