Climate Change, Conservation, Environmentalist

Environmentalists Worry Over Trade Agreement

Great Barrier Reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Image: Shutterstock

The secretly negotiated trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has caused serious concern from organizations like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth.  The Trans Pacific Partnership includes 11 countries and several other countries are interested.  The negotiation notes have not been made public, but several leaked documents have released chilling news about where the trade agreement is headed.  Leading the negotiations are multinational corporations seeking to lower environmental and carbon emission regulations.  Monsanto is also lobbying to have bans on genetically modified foods lifted.  Many other corporations are seeking international protections that would prevent legal action against them for environmental law violations.

The Sierra Club submitted a list of minimally acceptable environmental protections to the TPP negotiators, but reports are saying the environmental minimum standards are being ignored.  One leaked chapter would actually allow companies to sue governments over costs of meeting environmental regulations, giving developing countries even less power to protect lands like the rainforest in Peru or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  There is even speculation that President Obama may use his authority to “fast-track” the trade agreement, leaving it to a yes or no vote in Congress that would cancel the ability to negate specific sections of the TPP.

Peruvian deforestation
The TPP would take away even more of developing countries’ protection powers.
Image: Shutterstock

The TPP completely undermines President Obama’s renewed commitment to reversing climate change.  The trade agreement would loosen regulations and allow the vast destruction of natural resources without any consequences for the companies that caused them.  The trade agreement would also increase mining, exports, land development and biotechnology.  With that comes deforestation, pollution and carbon emissions.  Friends of the Earth also produced this video to illustrate the dangers of the Trans Pacific Partnership by highlighting an international tribunal in which Chevron was absolved of responsibility for dumping oil into the Amazon and causing billions in damages.  It is important to speak up now about the TPP and urge congress to oppose it without appropriate environmental protections.


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