Sarah Rasmussen / Greenpeace & Sierra Club / EcoWatch – 2016-07-13 01:43:30
If the Democratic Party Is Serious About Climate Change, They Must Reject the TPP
Sarah Rasmussen / Greenpeace
(July 7, 2016) — Right now, Congress is considering approving an international trade agreement that would lead to more fracking here in the US, more burning of rainforests for palm oil and fewer protections for American workers.
That international trade agreement is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was negotiated in extreme secrecy.
But now there is a groundswell of opposition to the TPP, with hundreds of thousands of people speaking out. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders already oppose it.
And if the Democratic Party opposes the TPP in its official platform, that may truly be the end of the road. We can stop this destructive trade deal.
We told Congress to reject it and all the presidential candidates oppose it. Now we must tell the leadership of the Democratic Party to oppose the TPP in its official platform.
The TPP is not about trade. It’s about giving global corporations even more loopholes to overcome democracy.
Companies like Exxon want the power to sue our government in order to eradicate environmental and labor protections that discourage their profits — and the TPP would expand this power.
This international trade pact was negotiated in extreme secrecy among Pacific Rim nations like the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan. Corporate executives were at the table, but environmental and labor groups were not — and of course, citizens of these countries had absolutely no say.
Just a few years ago, the TPP seemed like a done deal. But now it’s floundering and looking less and less likely to pass thanks to grassroots organizing around the country. With your help, we can put it to bed once and for all.
Tell the Democratic Party: listen to the voice of the people and take a stand against the TPP.
Leaked Document Reveals Alarming New Environmental Threats of TTIP
Sierra Club / EcoWatch
(July 11, 2016) — This morning, as the most recent round of trade negotiations between the US and European Union (EU) began in Brussels, the Guardian reported a leaked document from the EU that reveals its intentions to include new, dangerous language in the proposed energy chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
A Sierra Club analysis of the leaked TTIP proposal finds that it would:
* Require the US and the EU “to eliminate all existing restrictions on the export of natural gas in trade between” the two parties;
* Undermine clean energy policies, such as renewable portfolio standards or feed-in tariffs, by stating that electricity utilities in the US and the EU shall not discriminate “between types of energy” in granting access to the electrical grid;
* Obligate the US and the EU to “foster industry self-regulation” on energy efficiency rather than using mandatory requirements that oblige corporations to boost the energy efficiency of their products; and
* Threaten protections against destructive extraction of fossil fuels and natural resources in countries outside of the US and EU.
“This leaked document goes farther than any past leaked or publicly available TTIP document on energy to reveal the threat that the deal poses to our efforts to protect our climate by fully transitioning to clean energy,” Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, said.
“For example, never before have we seen a more explicit and sweeping assertion that all gas export restrictions in the United States should be wiped out under TTIP — a nightmare that would be a giant leap backward in our fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
This leak, along with the similarly toxic Trans-Pacific Partnership, shows the immediate need for a new model of trade that protects working families, healthy communities and our climate.”
The leaked document, is the EU’s proposal for a Chapter on Energy and Raw Materials, sent from the European Commission to the Trade Policy Committee of the European Council on June 20. A cover note states that the textual proposal “is to be submitted to the United States in advance of the next negotiation round,” which began today.
The Sierra Club’s analysis on key aspects of today’s leak can be found here. This is the latest in a string of uncovered TTIP documents. Other leaked TTIP energy proposals include a September 2013 leaked document and a May 2014 leaked document.
The leaked TTIP proposal would:
Require Unfettered Gas Exports
The EU uses a note in the leaked text to state that TTIP “must” include “a legally binding commitment to eliminate all existing restrictions on the export of natural gas in trade between” the US and EU (see initial “disclaimer.”)
This sweeping TTIP obligation would “eliminate,” the ability of the US Department of Energy to determine whether it is in the public interest to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) — a fossil fuel with high climate emissions — to the EU, the world’s third-largest LNG importer. If included, this TTIP rule would facilitate increased LNG exports, greater dependency on a climate-disrupting fossil fuel, more fracking and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure.
Undermine Clean Energy Policies
The leaked TTIP proposal could undermine US and EU policies that encourage clean energy production, such as renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to increase electricity from renewable sources or feed-in tariffs that give wind and solar power producers preferential access to the electrical grid.
The EU’s TTIP proposal includes a new provision stating that electricity utilities in the US and EU shall not discriminate “between types of energy” in granting access to the electrical grid, even though that is the very purpose of such US and EU policies that require utilities to favor clean energy over electricity from dirty fossil fuels.
The leaked text only allows “limited” exceptions to this rule. To qualify for such an exception, a government could have to prove to a TTIP tribunal that its clean energy policy was “necessary,” “objective” and “legitimate” — hurdles that public interest policies have failed to meet in past trade challenges (see Chapter on Energy and Raw Materials, Article 4.)
Obligating the US and the EU to “foster industry self-regulation” on energy efficiency
Another new EU proposal for TTIP states that the US and EU “shall foster industry self-regulation of energy efficiency requirements” rather than using “mandatory requirements” that oblige corporations to boost the energy efficiency of their products (see Chapter on Energy and Raw Materials, Article 6.2.)
The text prescribes this “self-regulating” approach when it “is likely to deliver the policy objectives faster or in a less costly manner” than actually requiring corporations to comply with energy efficiency policies.
This provision could threaten the minimum efficiency requirements that the US Department of Energy imposes through its Appliance and Equipment Standards Program on more than 60 types of appliances and equipment, from refrigerators to furnaces, which save consumers billions of dollars while cutting hundreds of millions of tons of climate pollution each year.
Undermine Protections against Destructive Extraction
The proposed TTIP text includes a new provision that would encourage the US and the EU to jointly pressure countries around the world to abandon protections against destructive extractive activities.
The provision states that the US and EU “shall cooperate” to “reduce or eliminate trade and investment distorting measures in third countries affecting energy and raw materials” (see Chapter on Energy and Raw Materials, Article 8).
That is, the US and EU must try to reduce or eliminate environmental policies in non-TTIP countries if they inhibit trade or investment in fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas; natural resources like wood; and minerals like copper and lead (all of which are included in the text’s definitions of “energy” and “raw materials” — see Chapter on Energy and Raw Materials, Annex I).
Such TTIP-required pressure from the US and EU would threaten many countries’ protections against fossil fuel extraction, logging and mining.
This dangerous TTIP proposal undercuts the text’s weak proposal for the US and EU to cooperate to “promote” positive goals such as “corporate social responsibility,” “the efficient use of resources” and “safety and environmental protection for offshore oil, gas and mining operations” (see Chapter on Energy and Raw Materials, Article 8).
Read the Sierra Club’s report on how TTIP and TPP investment rules would empower major polluters to challenge US climate protections in private tribunals here: sc.org/climate-roadblocks
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