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Pacific trade deal = climate disruption

Posted Mar. 25, 2016 / Posted by: Bill Waren

The Obama administration and the fossil fuel industry are pushing Congress to approve a Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement with Japan and 10 other Asia-Pacific countries that would ramp up global warming. Friends of the Earth is working in a united campaign with Sierra Club, 350.org and other environmental groups to counter the dirty energy companies by educating the public and members of Congress about the climate threat posed by the TPP.

The TPP would trump the recently-concluded Paris accord on climate change. The TPP and other trade deals can be effectively enforced by international tribunals with authority to levy retaliatory trade sanctions or unlimited awards of money damages whereas multilateral environmental and climate agreements like the Paris accord are mere moral obligations. For example, TransCanada has sued the U.S. under the North American Free Trade Agreement for $15 billion for stopping construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  

As a new report by Ben Beachy, a highly respected policy analyst at the Sierra Club, documents, the TPP and another looming trade deal with the European Union threaten efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The report, entitled “Climate Roadblocks,” shows for the first time that the TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal being negotiated with the EU would more than double the number of fossil fuel corporations that could follow TransCanada’s lead and use corporate dominated arbitration tribunals as a backdoor way of challenging U.S. policies that keep fossil fuels in the ground. 

As Beachy concludes:

The fight for climate progress already faces enough obstacles without the additional roadblocks imposed by the TPP and TTIP. Replacing these anachronistic deals with a new climate-friendly model of trade is an essential component of the growing effort to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

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Image caption: Brent Blackwelder, Friends of the Earth president emeritus, outside the USTR for the No TPP rally in Washington, D.C., 2014.
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