Rome, Italy – In the 70s and 80s, publications by Italian energy giant ENI, back then a state-owned company, warned of possible destructive impacts of fossil fuels on the climate and the planet, according to “ENI Knew”, a report by Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon. Yet, despite the risks connected to the extraction and exploitation of oil and gas, the company has continued to invest primarily in the fossil fuel economy.[1]

Felice Moramarco, communication expert at Greenpeace Italy, who coordinated the research, said: “Our investigation adds evidence to the cynical attitude of energy majors: ENI joins the long list of fossil fuel companies that, according to numerous international investigations conducted in recent years, have been aware for decades of the destructive impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from coal, gas and oil on the climate, but chose to ignore what they knew.

“Carbon majors have contributed to and exacerbated the climate crisis and, despite the evidence in their hands, they have blocked progress towards effective regulation. It is time companies like ENI take responsibility for their harmful policies and invest in ambitious action to limit the impacts of the climate crisis on people and the planet.” 

The investigation includes input by Ben Franta, senior researcher in Climate Litigation at the Oxford Sustainable Law Program and one of the world’s leading experts on the topic, and by Christophe Bonneuil, current director of research at France’s largest public research institution, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

Franta and Bonneuil are among the authors of a 2021 study, according to which “Exxon, through the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA), coordinated an international campaign to dispute climate science and weaken international climate policy, beginning in the 1980s.”[2] Since the 70s, ENI is also a member of IPIECA, an organisation founded by several international oil companies.[3]

In May, twelve Italian citizens, Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon filed a lawsuit against ENI for past and potential future damages resulting from its contribution to climate change. According to Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon, ENI was well aware of the potential damage but chose to ignore relevant information for decades, as the recent “ENI knew” investigation confirms. 

According to the plaintiffs, ENI’s policies are in blatant violation of the Paris Agreement that was signed by the Italian government, and which has direct implications for companies like ENI and their climate action commitments. The lawsuit also includes ENI’s two main shareholders, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.p.A. that both strongly influence the company’s policies.



[1] The report “ENI Knew” is a joint investigation conducted and published by Greenpeace Italy and ReCommon, following months of research at libraries and archives, including ENI’s, and scientific institutions like the National Research Council (CNR). 

[2] Early warnings and emerging accountability: Total’s responses to global warming, 1971–2021, Global Environmental Change, Volume 71, November 2021, 102386. Authors: Christophe Bonneuil, Pierre-Louis Choquet, Benjamin Franta. 

[3] Archivio storico ENI: Ecos (former ENI monthly newspaper), number 3/1992, page 53, second paragraph, line 19-21.


Archive images are available at Greenpeace Media Library

Felice Moramarco, Greenpeace Italy, [email protected], +39 (0) 348 7630682 

Luca Manes, ReCommon, [email protected], +39 335 5721837

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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