As negotiators meet in Paris to reach agreement on climate change, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) awaits a vote in Congress [“Messy midway: Paris draft climate deal ready, long way to go,” Nation and World, Dec. 5].
Unbeknown to many, the TPP is by itself a threat to our climate, as recently reported by the Sierra Club. The most threatening provisions in the TPP are the investor-state provisions, which allow foreign corporations to challenge domestic laws in unaccountable trade tribunals.
As was the case under NAFTA and other trade deals, under the TPP, corporations would be able to demand damages for lost profits due to laws aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and laws aimed at promoting a local green economy. Already, under the World Trade Organization, Ontario’s program to develop a green energy program was successfully challenged in the WTO.
Other threats to the climate in the TPP include its limits on environmental regulations (as compared to past trade deals), its rules that could lead to an increase of fossil-fuel exports and the increasing CO2 emissions resulting from the off-shoring of manufacturing to countries with lower clean-air standards than we have in the United States.
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Most of us in the Northwest agree that trade is good. But let’s fashion a trade deal that does not shackle our democracy and harm our environment.
Selden Prentice, Seattle