The TPP a Template for World Corporate Rule – Part 3.
story and photo copyright Des Pensable, 2015.
Imagine you are a group of fossil fuel barons and you are faced with keeping 80-90% of your fossil fuel assets in the ground owing to the fact that they are likely to cause destruction of our civilisation. It would reduce the value of your $30 Trillion assets by 80-90%. How could you save your wealth?
You could try to slow the adoption of regulations designed to force you to keep it in the ground by denial, creating confusion and bribing government officials or you could find a sucker to buy it off you. The masterstroke of ingenuity would be to have a punitive trade treaty that would force fossil fuel producing countries to pay you to keep their fossil fuels in the ground. This is the hidden agenda of the punitive Investor State Dispute Settlement, (ISDS) clause in the TPP and its sister agreement the TTIP.
Australia with its coal and CSG gas and Canada with its tar sands are both endowed with a large proportion of the world’s unused fossil fuels. Both have Global Warming denier get rich quick governments that wish to sell as much of their carbon wealth as quickly as possible. In a world where 90% of this carbon MUST be kept in the ground to prevent the existential threat of runaway Global Warming, this is not foolish, it’s reckless. It threatens the lives of billions of people.
Australia and Canada have both sold off licences to huge areas of their countries to large multinational companies owned by fossil fuel fools with black gold fever that live to lust for MORE wealth. They are relishing the thought of the foolish denier governments of Australia and Canada signing onto the TPP with its nasty hidden ISDS sting.
The reason for this fiendish delight is that the ISDS clause will enable them to take the countries to an independent international court and FORCE them to pay for all of the lost profits on their fossil fuel extraction licences should those countries either decide to be responsible world citizens or be forced by international pressure to leave their precious black gold in the ground.
In Australia the state and federal governments have sold off licences (PELs) to mine for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) for over 90% of the whole of Australia. There are 91 proposed new coal mines in NSW and Queensland to be opened up. The coal from the Galilea basin Queensland alone is enough to use up about 10% of the world’s remaining carbon budget to keep below the internationally agreed 2C limit.
The simple fact is that if Australia signs the TPP with the ISDS clause allowing the fossil fuel barons to sue it in a court outside the country with no appeal then Australia will likely be forced to possibly pay in excess of a $1000 billion in lost profits to the fossil fuel barons. That will be paid through taxes on every citizen of the country. The same is likely to happen in Canada who are already fighting 35 punitive ISDS claims for billions of dollars at the current time though the ISDS clause in the NAFTA agreement. In the USA they also warn of danger.
The multinational champions of the TPP, including US President Obama, will argue that the treaty has an environmental section which allows the countries to set laws to protect their environment. The secret environmental chapter of the TPP was leaked by Wikileaks who stated.
”the Environment Chapter does not include enforcement mechanisms serving the defence of the environment; it is vague and weak, and adheres to the lowest common denominator of environmental interests.” and
“The Environment Chapter clearly shows the intention to first and foremost protect trade, not the environment. The principle is spelled out in this draft that local environmental laws are not to obstruct trade or investment between the countries.”
Their assessment of the section was that it has no binding clauses that will allow any country to create any laws that will protect their environment and there is NO MENTION of Global Warming or Climate Change.
How can the world’s biggest trade treaty NOT mention Global Warming which is the world’s biggest threat? The TPP is specifically designed to stimulate world trade causing the massive release of more carbon dioxide which will increase the Global Warming problem. Where are the clauses that OFFSET the carbon to be released by the extra trade?
The simple facts are that the TPP must NOT be used as an excuse to do less about mitigating Global Warming. It must NOT be used as a punitive measure to force countries to pay the fossil fuel barons to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
If the denier governments of Australia and Canada decide in their collective wisdom to sign the TPP, for everyone’s peace of mind and to protect their own future economies, they should not include the ISDS clause. They should also ensure they set stringent protections for their environments which will override any weak TPP environmental rules so as ensure their children a healthy and safe environmental future in which to live.
Australia and Canada still call themselves democracies rather than oligarchies. It’s time for the people of those two great countries to demand that their conservative governments fight against the very real threat of Global Warming. It’s time to demand that they don’t make foolish decisions to sign trade agreements which have hidden stings that could cripple their future economies.
It’s time to embrace the change that is being forced upon the world by our use of fossil fuels. There is NOWHERE TO HIDE. It’s time to help mitigate global warming problem, to adapt to it, to learn how to adjust our life styles, our aspirations and society to the new reality.
The TPP could be a great benefit to the world or it could be a straight jacket severely limiting our ability to survive the challenges ahead. IT’S YOUR DECISION. So what are you going to do about it?
TPP Part 1 – The Control of the World’s Intellectual Property.
Update 2016 – a year later
OIL CORPORATIONS VS CLIMATE TH E KEYSTON E XL CASE | Briefing Paper 2016 How investors use trade agreements to undermine climate action
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