Trade rules empower corporations, allowing them to demand compensation from governments and threaten local communities and the climate. This is the message supported by a number of community and activist groups across the European Union, the United States and Canada in a report released Monday.
The report singles out the TransCanada Corporation, which is planning to sue the U.S. government for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline by using investors' rights provisions rules written into the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Canadian corporation is planning on suing the U.S. government for US$15 billion of taxpayers money as “compensation” for the potential lost profit that the company could have made had Keystone been approved.
“Tar sands are a climate killer, and the Obama Administration was right to block Keystone XL,” said Colin Roche, another of the report’s authors and the Extractive Industries Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe. “Trade policy should not be a backdoor for corporations to challenge or dissuade measures to tackle climate change. It’s time to drop investor-state dispute mechanisms in any form, stop harmful trade deals and start taking necessary action to stop climate destruction.”
But its not the only corporation taking advantage of international trade deals, stated the worldwide activist groups in their press release. The groups — including Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club — outline a number of other infractions in their latest report “Oil Corporations Vs. Climate: How investors use trade agreements to undermine climate action.”
The report was released at the same time that communities continue to battle major development or resource exploitation projects that they say will harm their livelihoods.
“Despite the U.S. and 194 other nations reaching an historic climate agreement in Paris not three months ago, corporate lobby groups are trying to push members of Congress to support destructive trade deals that would give fossil fuel corporations greater power to challenge our climate protections,” said Courtenay Lewis, one of the report’s authors and the Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program.
OPINION: Direct Action for Climate JusticeAccording to the global environmental activists, other several forthcoming trade deals will threaten communities and the climate, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
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