Friday, May 15, 2015

The TPP Could Have Disastrous Results for the Climate, Environmental Groups Warn

A deal between the U.S. and Japan could spell big trouble for climate change. (Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Click to Enlarge.
A wide-reaching trade agreement between the United States and several Asian nations could have catastrophic repercussions for climate change, including giving corporations the power to sue governments that try to limit polluting industries, environmental groups say.

In order to avoid dangerous climate change, scientists estimate that 80 percent of the world’s fossil fuels need to remain in the ground.  But coal, natural gas, and oil left in the ground means profits left on the table for fossil fuel companies. And under the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), corporations will likely be able to sue governments that interfere with their business — even if it’s by enacting carbon reduction goals and passing environmental legislation.
“[The TPP] just contradicts the president’s climate policy,” Bill Waren, a trade analyst with Friends of the Earth, told ThinkProgress.  “One hand takes away from the other.”

And the threat of corporate litigation is not the only climate-related concern the TPP — along with the other massive trade deal being proposed, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would be between the U.S. and European Union — raises, Waren said.

As the United States cuts down on its coal use, coal producers are looking for new markets. The TPP would likely encourage more coal mining in the United States, and new coal ports on the west coast.  There are currently export bans on both crude oil and gas from the United States, but with those bans lifted on exports to Asia and Europe, fracking would likely increase across the country.

The trade agreements would “provide huge market incentives for additional coal mining, oil drilling, mining of tar sands oil, and extraction of natural gas for LNG,” Waren said.

Waren also outlined a number of other environmental concerns the TPP and TTIP raise, such as limits on food labels, lessened restriction on chemical companies, restrictions on green procurement policies, and “bio-piracy.”
The Senate, just two days after its last vote on the issue, put the fast-track option back on the table Thursday.  If the TPP goes to Congress as an up-and-down vote, it is expected to pass.

Read more at The TPP Could Have Disastrous Results for the Climate, Environmental Groups Warn

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