TPP agreement slammed as 'betrayal' of environment, boon for fossil fuels | RenewEconomy

TPP agreement slammed as ‘betrayal’ of environment, boon for fossil fuels

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Monday’s Trans Pacific Partnership agreement has sparked anger among green groups who say it is a betrayal of the environment, a disaster for climate policy, and a boon for the fossil fuel industry.

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Green leaders and environmental groups in Australia have added their voices to an outpouring of anger over this week’s progress of the huge Trans Pacific Partnership – a trade deal encompassing a dozen countries that, if ratified, will set economic rules for 40 per cent of the world economy.

As Climate Progress reports, the TPP aims to eliminate or reduce tariffs between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

And while it does address some environmental concerns — such as trade of illegally harvested resources or wildlife trafficking — to many Monday’s announcement was “the culmination of a long-watched train wreck.”

Social media sites were peppered with criticism, on Tuesday, describing the preliminary agreement between trade ministers from 12 countries as a “pathetic betrayal” of the environment, a prioritisation of corporate investment over nature, a ticking time bomb for climate policy, and an all-round bad deal.

“It’s still the same disaster for climate change it was three months ago,”’s Karthik Ganapathy told ThinkProgress.

Ganapathy, among many others, argues the main concern with the TPP is that it protects multinational corporations that profit from fossil fuels.

Some even fear it will allow companies to sue countries that enact laws to limit fossil fuel extraction or carbon emissions, if it interferes with profits – a big concern for future climate and clean energy efforts in countries like Australia.

“The TPP is a ticking time-bomb for climate policy,” said Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Coordinator, Sam Cossar-Gilbert, “because it further cements the unfair… mechanism that enables foreign corporations to sue governments for protecting the environment.

“Many government policies needed to address global warming will be subject to suits brought before biased, not transparent and undemocratic international investment tribunals.”

Cossar-Gilbert also argues that the deal will threaten regulators’ capacities to effectively regulate the roughly 85,000 chemicals in commerce needed to protect human health and the environment.

The deal is also expected to lead to the rubber-stamping of export facilities for natural gas from fracking and will prevent the US Trade Representative from ever including climate change action in trade deals, according to Ganapathy.

For its part, the White House is chalking the deal up as a triumphant success, touting, in particular, its potential for environmental conservation as a “once-in-a-generation chance to protect our oceans, wildlife, and the environment.”

But this has been called out as greenwash by some, and labelled pathetic by others, including US environmental activist and author Naomi Klein.

In Australia, former Greens leader Christine Milne tweeted that the deal was “about increasing US influence in east Asia, to try to curb China,” adding that companies would now lobby to “cut environment and labour standards worldwide to the minimum they set under TPP.”

Even Donald Trump doesn’t like it.

But, as Sam Cossar-Gilbert notes, the fight is not over yet.

“The TPP still faces a number of challenges before being ratified at the national level, with a hostile US Congress, an election in Canada, a court action in Japan and wide spread opposition in Australia.”

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  1. Geoff 5 years ago

    I am absolutely livered that this has been signed and to see our democracy our soverignty handed over to big corporations that can now use australian law and its citizens as a play thing. No one wins on this deal. Only CEO’s and investors. The spineless liberals need to release the text immediately so that it can be blocked in the senate. Shame on you Robb and all you pricks that supported this…

    • mick 5 years ago

      no surprise they kept it a secret

      • MaxG 5 years ago

        Lots of it was known before it was signed; opposition and petitions where mounting, but nobody (or a very minority) cares — the latter is the biggest problem.

        • Geoff 5 years ago

          does anyone know where we can see the text for the CHAFTA? if it was signed, then the text should have been released to members of parliament and hopefully the public. if the US “says” that they will release to the public before ratifying, then Australia should be doing the same……hopefully…

        • mick 5 years ago

          i watched Andrew robb interview re:secrecy about the deal the excuse was to much detail if unshrouded everyone would pull it apart thus slowing down the process also foreign negotiators required secrecy I drew my conclusions from that id like to think uninformed rather than apathetic but sometimes its a struggle

    • MaxG 5 years ago

      Agree, I cannot understand why any representative for the people would sell out its people to foreign rule. Philip Morris is already suing the government over its anti-smoking laws impeding their profits. For the folks who are not across this: this is exactly what the TPP is aiming for – reducing the independence of states.

      • Miles Harding 5 years ago

        We don’t actually know what’s in it, so the best we can do is speculate!

        One of the few things I have heard is that, of the 20-odd sections, only 3 have anything to do with trade, as we would think of it.

        On the ABC this morning, there was some discussion of the patent life on drugs; Australia wanted 5 years, the USofA wanted 12 years, the result was reported as a minimum of 5 to 8 years. (and the maximum…??)

        Like most of the respondents here, I have a deep distrust of the agreement and would be looking very carefully for killer clauses beyond the much rumoured and evil ISDS provisions that should signal instant death for any TPP bill.

  2. Bighead1883 5 years ago

    I`m personally sick and tired of Greens bandwagon on the TPP as Penny Wong has stated on her page Labor`s opposition to the TPP`s inherent ISDS
    If any are to sell out here it`ll be the Greens signing up like they did with the LNP on the Direct Action Plan
    Greens gave over 20% of their preferences to the LNP in the 2013 election-something not known by even their own 10-11% supporter base.

  3. Oliver Nutherwun 5 years ago

    FTAs and the WTO in particular are all about shifting economic controls from national democratic institutions to detached oligarchs heavily controlled to serve multinational interests operating at a global level. The shift from GATT to the WTO was a clear line in the sand moment where those with the financial power made it clear that being limited by the democratic interests of nation states looking out for the interests of their own citizens was getting in the way. All of which I abhor. But its not going to go away. And the global level its applied to is, without doubt, the right scale for the type of interconnected world we live in today. And the right scale for the problems we face. We need to stop resisting this process and start using the WTO/FTA model as a precedent shaping framework and respond with meaningful world level environmental agreements signed off by those same nations and put together in a form supervenient to those associated to trade – which is only logical, as one is dealing with the planet’s real capital and intrinsic values and the other (trade) is of merely instrumental use. And no one on the other side of the debate can argue against the concepts being applied as they’re their own, only this time aligned to democratic interests, the interests of the planet as a whole, and scientific reality. A well constructed WEO (World Environment Organisation), not as a pressure group conglomerate but as a political reality with membership from all major nations, would trump the tunnel vision of a WTO every time.
    We need to get to grips with ‘thinking global, AND acting global’. Business gets it, we need to as well. All that ‘acting local’ stuff is lovely and warm and fuzzy, but it isn’t anywhere near enough – and often involves buying products and services, supplied, sold and manufactured via those very same FTAs.

  4. Les Johnston 5 years ago

    Yet to see any evidence that the current Federal Government has enacted legislation to increase protection of the environment in Australia. Maybe Andrew Robb is hopeful or exaggerating!

  5. MaxG 5 years ago

    I have been following US foreign policy and trade agreements for a few decades now… none of them are about trade, but the free flow of money, plus investor protection. This one TPP and TISA are the worst I have seen, where governments submit (and are ruled by decisions made) by a board ‘staked’ by members of corporations… go figure! First the governments sell of ‘public’ assets, then they bow to corporate interests with ‘trade agreements’.

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