Reports CLIMATE ROADBLOCKS: Looming Trade Deals Threaten Efforts to Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground

Reports
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CLIMATE ROADBLOCKS: Looming Trade Deals Threaten Efforts to Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground

In January 2016, TransCanada, the corporation
behind the dangerous Keystone XL tar sands
pipeline, laid bare the threats that two pending
trade agreements pose to the movement to protect
our climate and keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Just two months after the Obama administration
rejected the pipeline, TransCanada announced it
would retaliate by using rules in the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that empower
foreign corporations to challenge domestic policies
in private tribunals. TransCanada now plans to ask
three tribunal lawyers to order the U.S. government
to pay more than $15 billion as “compensation” for
the Keystone XL decision that avoided increased
climate disruption.

But if two even larger trade deals were to take
effect, TransCanada’s case may be just the beginning
of a swell of such challenges to hard-fought
climate protections. Those deals are the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP)—a controversial pact between
the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries that Congress
may consider this year—and the Transatlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—a broad
pact under negotiation between the U.S. and the
European Union. Both deals would dramatically
expand the number of corporations that could follow
TransCanada’s example and use private tribunals as
a backdoor way to challenge and potentially undermine
U.S. policies that keep fossil fuels in the ground

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Published March 2017 Sierra Club

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