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4 Ways the Pacific Trade Deal is Awful for the Environment

4 Ways the Pacific Trade Deal is Awful for the Environment

Written by Margaret Badore

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade deal being negotiated among twelve countries around the Pacific Rim. The terms of the agreement have been discussed largely in secret for the past three years, yet President Obama has deemed passing the agreement a top trade priority.

This past week, WikiLeaks released a draft of the trade agreement’s environmental chapter, along with that chapter’s working group chair report. A number of environmental groups say the leaked documents are too soft on several key environmental issues.

1) Pollution controls
Environmental groups are taking issue with the process for prosecuting violators of environmental agreements. The trade agreement does not impose any explicit penalties for “non-compliance,” but rather sets up a system where parties that suspect wrongdoing can request that a committee “consider whether the matter could benefit from cooperative activities under this agreement.” That seems like a pretty toothless way to handle polluters of any kind.

A statement from the World Wildlife Federation, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club concludes, “this vastly insufficient process is an unacceptable rollback of previous commitments and renders the obligations in this chapter virtually meaningless.”

2) More fracking
Trans-Pacific Partnership will lead to a massive expansion of the export of liquified natural gas, most of which will be extracted by fracking, according to an analysis by the Sierra Club. The agreements could lead to the approval of natural gas exports to any of the partnership countries without review. That’s bad news for global climate change.

3) No ban on shark finning
Shark finning is the process of capturing wild sharks, cutting their fins off, and dumping them back in the sea to die. The environmental chapter includes non-binding language that encourages participating governments to voluntarily implement ocean conservation practices.

“We’ve been calling for a ban on shark finning, which should be in this chapter,” Ilana Solomon from the Sierra Club told the BBC.

4) Illegal timber and wildlife
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is an important agreement that has already been signed by all of the countries that involved with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, it has been difficult to enforce. The trade agreement could provide a better enforcement framework, but again, the environmental chapter only makes a non-binding reference of commitment to stopping the illegal sale and shipping of wild animals and plants.

Going backwards
For the U.S., the documents reveal considerably weaker standards than it has maintained in past trade agreements. Since 2007, all free-trade agreements have required environmental provisions include the same legally binding language as labor and intellectual property chapters. The trade agreement is still only a draft, but a bill has been introduced in U.S. legislation that could potentially fast-track the agreement.

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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61 comments

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7:43PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

until we bring the last shred of the last to be employed down to our level before factories go to all robotics....until everyone who works on the factory floor understands that we hang together or hang separately......materialism is a failed religion.......our ''leaders'' sell their vote and our souls.....and ship more jobs overseas.....to the lobbyist class who profit at every working americans expense......the less I make the less I spend, and given the opportunity I would piss gasoline on the grave of predatory capitalism.....

5:43PM PST on Jan 26, 2014

The TPPA absolutely horrifies me and many people I know.We have all written to the government about it and can't even get a response.Our planet is being destroyed for corporate greed and profits,and what I don't understand is how those people involved in these heinous activities,can do this to their own families,and their future generations?!Have they no consciences or empathy with our finite beautiful biodiversity?I can only think that they are actually "clinically insane"in which case,if people like that have the power to do anything they like with the full support of gutless governments,then there is no hope?!

11:48AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Quand on pense qu' il va y avoir une petite chose positif faîte pour la protection de l' environnement....et bien non, il y a toujours de mauvaises nouvelles, de mauvaises décisions. C' est vraiment décourageant, mais il ne faut pas baisser les bras et continuer de se battre.

6:36PM PST on Jan 22, 2014

The worst congress that money can buy will in all likelihood strike again and fast track the TPP in order to protect the profits for pharmaceutical companies thereby making sure that many of the poor in Africa will not be able to afford their AIDS treatments. It will also protect intellectual property ad infinitum which will stifle creativity and innovation. And it will mean that many more jobs will be outsourced overseas to countries with cheaper labor forces and less regulations which will negatively impact the unemployment rate in this country. However the business interests want it and Congress is in their pocket so as Ross Perot used to say prepare for another large sucking sound as all of the jobs leave the country to protect the jobs of our highly overpaid and inept and ineffective members of Congress.

1:09PM PST on Jan 22, 2014

NO----TPP.

1:03PM PST on Jan 22, 2014

tPP is bad for everything and everyone except the 1%.

8:37AM PST on Jan 22, 2014

Thank you!

6:14AM PST on Jan 22, 2014

Noted.!

5:28AM PST on Jan 22, 2014

terrible

1:44AM PST on Jan 22, 2014

disgusting!

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