New York was flooded with Climate Change marches with estimates of 400,000 people attending. It is beautiful to see this activism. This is my question----
WHY DO NONE OF THESE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS IN MARYLAND TALK ABOUT TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT ENDING US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS?
Below you see news on the largest world-wide march promoting addressing Climate Change. I read all of the media articles and went to Environmental group sites and not one mention of TPP in the US.This is why American citizens as a whole do not know what policies are being moved behind the scenes------our national justice groups are not educating the public. National Resistance does a good job outing TPP and tying it to environmental devastation......let's take a look. Keep in mind that Obama has spent his entire Presidency completing and pushing TPP and the neo-liberal Senate and neo-con House are already building TPP structures in their states as in Maryland. TPP seeks to allow global corporations to operate as they have in developing world nations only now in the developed world----ending US environmental laws and communities ability to decide what happens locally. America will look like China----an environmental disaster----if TPP moves forward.
People's Climate March
3 hours ago
We made history and the world took notice.
Here's the #PeoplesClimate Mobilization on the front page of the New York Times, with 4 full color photos above the fold.
And they weren't alone. Here's the March on the front page of some of the world's biggest media outlets:
Thursday, 21 August 2014 18:36
New York Climate March Swells to Global Movement
Written by Sophie Yeo | RTCC (350.org)
Plans are in motion for climate marches in Turkey, France, Bulgaria, Guyana, Brazil, Burundi and others, ahead of Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit this September. The original People’s Climate March, which will roll through New York as world leaders gather for the landmark conference, has swollen into a global movement, with over 30 events now scheduled to take place across six continents.
Activists group 350.org, which is spearheading the action, has said it will be the largest climate action to date.
“People from across the planet will be making sure that leaders gathered in New York know the demand for action comes from every corner,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of the group. “This is the first truly global problem, and it has spawned the first truly global movement”.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is hosting the event alongside the UN General Assembly on 23 September to generate momentum ahead of an important international climate deal set to be signed in Paris 2015.
US President Barack Obama has said he will attend the summit, though leaders of some of the world’s largest economies have yet to confirm. Indian Prime Minister Modi appears likely to snub the event, while David Cameron’s presence remains uncertain.
Activists intend to use the event – and the momentary attention of the world’s media – to raise the volume around climate change, with around a million campaigners touted to descend upon New York on 21 September.
Actions planned include simultaneous climate marches in Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Sydney – alongside a “silent climate parade” in the typically edgy Berlin.
Today, 350.org and its allies launched a website tracking the different movements and providing inspiration for organisers to launch further events.
"The People's Climate March couldn't come at a more powerful time for the environmental movement," said John Coequyt, director of the Sierra Club's International Climate campaign. "President Obama recently released a clean power plan that for the first time sets climate pollution limits for existing power plants and in 2015 we expect the United States to show leadership in setting ambitious international climate targets. We will be able to let the president know on a grand scale that we expect to move towards a just society powered by clean energy. The theme for the UN Summit is 'Catalyze Action,' and that's exactly what we mean to do both in the US and around the world --momentum is on our side."
If people do not understand why the US is in Afghanistan forever it is because of this nation's rare earth minerals. Afghanistan has large deposits and as you see below---China is saying GET OUT to US operations that were involved in devastating strip mining. Think of US computer corporations like Apple and Microsoft and how their factories were in China and think what will happen when they return to the US because developing world nations are kicking them out. That is what TPP is all about-----creating in the US the same conditions for US corporations to operate with no environmental or labor restrictions. Think mountain-top removal and fracking is crazy----wait until the mid-west goes from bread-basket to US manufacturing Chinese-style. The water, the air, the products are all tainted with toxic pollution in China. Not all of this is the fault of US corporations----but they taught the Chinese to do it.
'The change is visible in the supply warehouse here of one of the world’s few factories producing rare earth powders for use in very powerful magnets. Whether in smartphones or missiles, the most advanced applications for rare earths tend to involve the manufacture of miniature but crucial components using the powerful magnetic qualities of rare earths.
The rare earth complex here in Tianjin is owned by Molycorp, an American company, although the factory buys its processed rare earths almost entirely from Chinese refineries. The warehouse has neatly arranged stacks of barrels of rare earths. The bright blue barrels holding neodymium, another highly magnetic rare earth, are only two feet high and a little more than a foot in diameter, but weigh more than 550 pounds because of the material’s extraordinary density'.
Multinational Corporations Violating China's Environmental Laws and Regulations
Over the last three years, the Chinese government has punished 33 multinational corporations for violating the nation’s environmental laws and regulations, according to Ma Jun, director of the nongovernmental Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs. Ma’s announcement in September came as a surprise to many, as the Chinese public has tended to assume that multinational companies abide more strictly by the law than some in fact do in this heavily polluted country.
The exposed companies include subsidiaries of world-renowned corporations such as American Standard, Panasonic, Pepsi, Nestle, and 3M. They were punished mainly for discharges of substandard waste water and for unauthorized construction activities that occurred in the absence of proper environmental impact assessments.
When researchers at Ma’s institute began building a database to map China’s water pollution earlier this year, they used data from the websites of various Chinese environmental protection authorities. During the process, they came across a list of multinational corporations that had been cited for environmentally harmful activities for the years 2004–06.
Ma, who once worked as an environmental consultant for multinationals in China, was shocked by the discovery. “Those enterprises have been talking about corporate responsibility, yet they could not even abide by the law,” he says. “On the one hand, multinational corporations have not kept their environmental promise with respect to a global uniform standard; on the other hand, the implementation power of environmental laws and regulations in China is very weak.”
Mr. Zhao, an authority with the Jilin Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau agrees that, “Multinational corporations have relaxed their environmental standards in China.” And according to Lo Sze Ping, campaign director of Greenpeace China, the “words” of multinationals are often better than their deeds. To address their wrongdoings, companies are more willing to invest in public relations than in actually cleaning up the manufacturing process, he says.
What concerns environmentalists more, however, is the weak governmental and legal oversight of multinational corporations. Lo observes that as local governments seek to attract foreign investment, their affiliated environmental protection bureaus dare not take strict measures to address pollution by multinational corporations. He also believes that since multinational corporations typically perform better than domestic enterprises environmentally, the sub-par activities of foreign companies won’t attract the attention of the country’s top environmental authority, the State Environmental Protection Administration. This leaves a void in supervision.
But Lo also points out that domestic enterprises are more likely than multinationals to lack the capacity to meet environmental protection standards, while for the foreign firms it is more often a matter of willingness to address such problems. “Multinationals should be the ‘lead goat’ of their industries,” he says.
William Valentino, general manager for corporate communications for Bayer Corporation and the chair of the Corporate Social Responsibility Working Group of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, agrees that the poor environmental performance of domestic enterprises should not be used as an excuse for multinationals. “Talk about home electronic appliances, Chinese people will think of Sony; talk about soft drinks, they will think of Coca Cola. As an international enterprise trusted by the Chinese people, one is obliged to bear more responsibilities,” Valentino says.
Jianqiang Liu is a senior investigative journalist with China Southern Weekend.
Please visit this website to read the details----the point is that TPP will have all of these US corporations bringing their operations home along with the work and environmental conditions. This is what Obama and neo-liberals mean by bringing manufacturing back to the US. Your children and grandchildren will get to build Microsoft computers complete with the toxic exposures that kill Chinese workers.
Top 10 Corporate Criminals List
Many corporations are complicit in violating human rights and the environment. As the free trade market continues to push forward the global economy, holding corporations accountable for their poor practices becomes difficult. Unfortunately, corporations are working harder than ever to cover abuses instead of preventing them.
This does not have to be the reality. People can use their purchasing power to endorse Fair Trade and pressure companies and boycott those that violate human rights and the environment. In doing so there is potential to pressure these companies to put people ahead of profits.
Global Exchange has compiled a list of the top ten “most wanted” corporations of 2014 based on issues like unlivable working conditions, corporate seizures of indigenous lands, and contaminating the environment, just to name a few.
The Top Ten Corporate Criminals list is a guide to learn about what companies like Gap, PepsiCo, Carnival, and others you might have heard less about are doing to undermine human rights and the environment so that you can get informed and involved in combating the injustice. The more you know, the less corporations can continue to act unfavorably in the public eye. Share the list with friends, family, and co-workers. Click to the Take Action pages and email CEO’s, call executives directly, and network with other non-profit organizations doing work on the issue.
We at Global Exchange encourage you to exercise your right as a global citizen to promote social justice and defend the Earth.
See our Corporate Criminals alumni.
1. Alpha Natural Resources for pollution of rivers, streams, and groundwater; violation of the Clean Water Act; destruction of forest and wildlife habitats; and devastation of Appalachian communities.
2. Bayer for manufacturing and using bee-killing pesticides, pinning the bee crisis on other causes, exposing farmers to harmful pesticides, and working to monopolize drug prices.
3. Carnival Corporation for dumping sewage pollution into oceans, use of cheap, air-polluting fuels, tax evasion, and unfair labor wages.
4. FIFA for forced evictions from homes and stores, damaging local business, tax evasion, labor abuse, corruption, and violating human rights including: right to adequate housing, right to free movement, right to work, right to protest, and right to labor protection.
5. Gap Inc. for refusal to sign “Accord of Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh,” refusal to compensate victims’ families, workers’ rights violations, and unsafe building conditions.
6. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company for refusal to use Fair Trade labor and continuing to support child labor, using labor that violates human rights standards, and creating environmental destruction and poverty.
7. Glencore Xstrata for dumping of toxic tailings, tax evasion, police brutality, destruction of communities, human rights violations, and environmental degradation.
8. HSBC for money laundering, financing conflict palm oil producers, and destruction of land.
9. Koch Industries thwarting public policy; forcing policies on funded politicians, judges, and organizations; working to destroy minimum wage, unions, and social security; re-segregation of public schools; toxic pollution.
10. PepsiCo for deforestation, destruction of peatlands, species extinction, greenhouse gas emissions, commodification of water, use of GMOs and prevention of labeling GMO foods, and privatization of public services.
Repeat Offender: Monsanto for harmful toxic chemical use, refusal to label product, monocropping, involvement in government, bankrupting small farms
Labor unions may hail the return of manufacturing to the US but the American people must balance the fact that these corporations intend to operate just as they did in China----minus labor and justice protections----minus labor wage and workplace laws-----and indeed, US workers will be on par with Chinese workers.
THIS IS WHAT TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT DOES-----ELIMINATES ALL THE LABOR AND JUSTICE LAWS AND ALL OVERSIGHT AND PROTECTIONS OF HEALTH AND SAFETY.
Now, we can have manufacturing by regional corporations that want to adhere to our first world standards of life and work----WE DO NOT NEED GLOBAL CORPORATIONS MAKING THE US INTO CHINA!
That is what concerns me about national labor union leaders. They are promoting neo-liberals and quietly embracing TPP because of the idea of MADE IN THE US----but they are not protecting their membership from what will be cruel and dangerous working conditions courtesy of TPP.
WE CAN HAVE MANUFACTURING ON A LOCAL LEVEL WITH REGIONAL BUSINESSES ----WE DO NOT NEED TO GIVE IN TO US GLOBAL CORPORATIONS COMING BACK TO THE US!
Below you see Apple Computer's manufacturing FoxConn coming back to the US and it will bring these working conditions.....there is no corporation more polluting and brutal to labor than the tech industry.
'Rights groups like Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin and Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior say that Foxconn's stringent military-like culture is one of surveillance, obedience and not challenging authority. Workers are told obey or leave.
It's an oppressive culture that labor groups say contributed to a slew of suicides in 2010 at the company's Shenzhen plant -- prompting Foxconn to install nets in an effort to prevent employees from jumping'.
When labor unions support neo-liberals they are supporting bringing these manufacturing jobs back as they are in China. THEY DO NOT NEED TO DO THAT. WE CAN HAVE DOMESTIC MANUFACTURING WITHOUT US GLOBAL CORPORATIONS!
Apple’s Chinese Suppliers in Trouble for Environmental Pollution
Tiffany Kaiser - August 5, 2013 5:16 PM
(Source: nytimes.com) They’ve been accused of dumping too many chemicals into the nearby rivers
Apple’s suppliers in China are under the microscope once again, but not for employee working conditions -- rather, for environmental pollution.
Chinese electronics suppliers Foxconn Technology Group and UniMicron Technology Corp. have been criticized by Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun and five nonprofit environmental organizations for polluting nearby rivers with factory chemicals.
According to the environmental groups, water with a black-green color and a chemical odor have been dumped from both Foxconn and UniMicron plants into the Huangcangjing and Hanputang rivers -- which feed into the Yangtze and Huangpu rivers. “Sudsy” water is dumped from Foxconn twice a day.
Foxnonn is the maker of electronic connectors and circuit boards through a plating process while UniMicron makes printed circuit boards.
Foxconn said that it is complying with emissions standards and that other companies within the same industrial park are dumping water into the rivers as well. UniMicron also defended itself, saying that it checks wastewater daily and even installed monitors. It also hired a third party to inspect the water quarterly.
The groups pointed out that the dumping of polluted wastewater into the rivers is contributing the China’s heavy-metal pollution problem. Currently, about 25 to 60 million acres of China’s arable land is polluted with heavy metals due to electronics factories.
This certainly isn’t the first time Apple’s suppliers have been in trouble for environmental issues. Just earlier this month, Apple’s iPad mini and budget iPhone supplier Pegatron was criticized for various reasons, including improper disposal of waste leading to environmental concern, poor working conditions for employees, excessive hours, crowded living conditions, etc.
Before that, Foxconn was targeted heavily for many of the same issues as Pegatron. It even led to many employee suicides. Apple implemented a system of audits to deal with the conditions of supplier factories in China. It will likely do the same to address the environmental problems at Foxconn and UniMicron.
Manufacturing Is Coming Back To The U.S. -- And Hiring
Dan Fastenberg Mar 20th 2013 7:28AM
Is American manufacturing poised for a comeback? The manufacturing industry lost 6 million jobs in the first decade of this century, but many experts say that the turnaround has already begun. According to one estimate by the Boston Consulting Group, as many as five million more positions could be recovered by 2020, due, in part, to Chinese labor becoming more expensive and less productive than the American workforce. (This figure includes service-related positions, like plant janitors and accountants.)
"There's a point when companies are indifferent to making things in the U.S.," Hal Sirkin, a senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group, says in an interview with AOL Jobs. And so they they decide there's no advantage in doing the work abroad. "We think that's 2015," Sirkin says. Search Jobs In
There are some caveats, of course. Many new manufacturing jobs don't pay the middle-class wages that they did when manufacturing was in its 20th century heyday; according to Reuters financial columnist Felix Salmon, some of these new positions pay as little as $13.50 an hour. Some of the best-paying positions require technical skills and training. But there is no doubt that manufacturing is on the upswing; if you want to zero in on the opportunities, here are the four sectors to explore, with links to some job openings.
1. Auto Industry
"Hiring now" is not a phrase that's often been connected with the auto industry in recent years. But the Ford Motor Co. says that it will invest $6.2 billion to expand its manufacturing operations in the U.S., saving 3,240 jobs and adding another 12,000 positions.
General Motors, the country's largest automaker, announced in January that it will spend $600 million to expand an assembly plant near Kansas City, saving some 4,000 jobs. Chrysler, as well, has announced plans to add manufacturing jobs.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama hailed the return of manufacturing in the U.S. In doing so, he pointed to the success of renovating a closed warehouse in Youngstown, Ohio, into a new plant for creating 3D-printers. As CNET explains, additive manufacturing, another term for 3-D printing, allows for the creation an array of products, from chess sets to titanium parts for jet fighters -- from digital processes (as opposed to a classic machine work that utilizes raw materials). Training is required to manufacture the state-of-the-art printers.
Innovation is also at the heart of the return of plastics production in the U.S. Denver-based Intertech Plastics Inc. reshored manufacturing last year from Asia and Mexico, and new plants are focusing on so-called injection molding. That process features the heating of a variety of materials, ranging from hard metals to glasses, to improve household and industrial plastic goods. By moving manufacturing back to the U.S., Intertech has been able to increase sales from $20 million in 2011 to $40 million last year. Speaking to Plastics News, Intertech President Noel Ginsburg said that his clients particularly liked his company's "cradle to grave service," meaning that the entire production from design to shipping, takes place at the U.S. plant.
3. Computer Sector
After outsourcing production in China (and coming under fire for labor conditions), tech giant Apple announced in December that it will begin producing some Macs computers in the United States. Macs, however, comprise about a fifth of the company's total annual revenue, the rest of it coming from iPhones and iPads, which will continue to be made in China.
One Chinese computing company, Lenovo, however, has decided to move some of its operations to the U.S. In October, Lenovo, announced it will open a factory in North Carolina to produce laptops, PCs and tablets under its Think brand. Initially the factory will offer 115 jobs, according to Computerworld, an information technology magazine.
4. Appliance Makers
Another company that has begun slowly adding manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is the Whirlpool Corp. Last year, for the first time in six years, the company's KitchenAid hand mixers were produced in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal. The first new plant, based in Ohio, is producing the plastic parts to accompany the motors that are still being produced in China. At first, the company brought on 25 new workers, but has announced plans to add even more workers to manufacture dryers, according to local Ohio news reports.
The Sierra Club has done a great job nationally in getting the word out and gives a great overview of the environmental concerns. I mentioned TPP to Maryland Sierra Club and got my terse reply-----WE WROTE AN OP-ED AGAINST TPP. Well, the seriousness of this policy requires massive marches every day in every county in Maryland as Maryland is leading in implementing Trans Pacific Trade Pact and dismantling of the public justice system that would allow citizens to contest what will be devastating environmental conditions. All of the Maryland Democratic and Republican Primary candidates EXCEPT Cindy Walsh support global markets and exporting----and will support US manufacturing coming back to Maryland to operate as they did in China.
WHY ARE MARYLAND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS NOT LEADING MARCHES AND PROTESTS AGAINST TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT AND EDUCATING THE PUBLIC THAT TPP HAS A GOAL TO END ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS IN THE US!
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement being negotiated between twelve countries across the Pacific Rim, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Eventually, every Pacific Rim nation may be included.
The Sierra Club is deeply concerned about both the process and the substance of the TPP. Our concerns include the lack of transparency in negotiations; a potential roll-back of the TPP environment chapter from past trade pacts; the expansion of natural gas exports, hydraulic fracturing, and use of coal; new rights to fossil fuel corporations; and new limits on climate and environmental regulations.
nEGoTiATED in SECRET
Despite the fact that the TPP would impact nearly every aspect of our lives and our environment, from the quality of our food, water, jobs, wages, and more, it has been negotiated behind closed doors with little meaningful public input or participation.After more than three years of negotiation, not a single word of draft text or U.S. government proposals has been released to the public. In fact, the full text of the TPP will likely not be made available until after President Obama has signed the agreement. Additionally, negotiators from the United States and other countries are forbidden to talk in specific about the negotiations, making meaningful public input and participation impossible.Despite the limited public input, a handful of non-corporate advisers and more than 600 business executives are actively involved in shaping TPP texts in their capacity as official trade advisors to the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Those worried about the climate implications of the TPP need look no further than the Energy Advisory Committee to the USTR, comprised predominantly of executives from the fossil fuel industry, including from Chevron, Halliburton, Nuclear Energy Institute, General-Electric Oil and Gas, Caterpillar, and other major fossil fuel corporations.
This heavy industry bias combined with a severe lack of transparency is deeply concerning.It is important to note that governments have negotiated the TPP with even less transparency than previous trade agreements. For example, a full draft of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement was released in 2001 and the World Trade Organization posts negotiating texts on its website. Particularly for an agreement as expansive as the TPP, the Sierra Club strongly opposes the lack of transparency in these talks.
THE EnviRonmEnT CHAPTER
One of the 29 TPP chapters is dedicated to the environment. We understand that the USTR has put forward an ambitious conservation proposal that would ban trade in illegally harvested timber and illegally taken wildlife, include disciplines on subsidies that contribute to overfishing, and include actions to deter shark-finning. The U.S. has advocated that the chapter be legally binding and subject to dispute settlement and include obligations for countries to uphold not only domestic environmental laws, but also commitments under agreed multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).The fate of the environment chapter is unclear—all other TPP countries oppose elements of the U.S. proposal, including that the environment chapter be legally enforceable and include a list of MEAs. What is certain, however, is that while a strong environment chapter is critical, it is not at all sufficient to ensure the protection of our climate and our environment. As described in this brief, there are many TPP provisions outside the environment chapter that would have a negative impact on the environment, such as investment chapter provisions that empower the fossil fuel industry to attack climate policies and rules that would remove the ability of the U.S. government to even analyze the impacts of natural gas exports. Moreover, it is important to note that while the provisions of the environment chapter may be strong on paper, similar provisions in other trade pacts that allow one trading partner to challenge the environmental practices of another trading partner have never once been utilized. This is in stark contrast to the investment rules, and specifically the investor-state dispute settlement, which corporations have used to bring more than 500 cases against 95 governments.
It is therefore critical to look at and beyond the environmental chapter when analyzing the environmental impacts of the TPP.
moREnATuRAL GAS ExPoRTS, FRACkinG, AnD CoALThe TPP would lead to an expansion of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports without any review and without proper protections in place to help safeguard the American public and our global climate. In fact, if the TPP includes so-called “national treatment for trade in natural gas”—as we understand that it will—the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would be legally bound to automatically approve all exports of U.S. LNG to countries in the agreement, including Japan, the world’s largest LNG importer, without any review, modifications, or delay. The origins of automatic exports of U.S. LNG date back to the U.S. Natural Gas Act. As amended in 1992, the Act stipulates that the DOE must approve permit applications to export natural gas to countries with which the United States has a free trade agreement requiring national treatment for trade in natural gas.
Importantly, if no free trade agreement is in place, the DOE must conduct a careful and public analysis to determine whether exports are inconsistent with the public interest before granting a license.
Automatic exports of U.S. LNG are particularly dangerous in the TPP. Japan, one of the TPP countries, is the largest LNG importer in the world, importing 4112.608 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2011.
And the fact that the TPP is a docking station for additional countries to join in the future means that the TPP creates an expanding web of countries with automatic access to gas from the United States. While language in the TPP could be drafted to protect the Department of Energy’s authority, our understanding is that no such language has even been proposed.Large-scale LNG exports, which the TPP would facilitate, would threaten our environment and climate in a number of ways, including: • increased unconventional Gas Production, including Fracking: Exporting natural gas stimulates increased gas production—most of which will come from unconventional gas sources, including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” An intrusive procedure, fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals underground to create tremendous pressure which forces out natural gas. Unconventional gas production can emit large amounts of hazardous, smog-forming, and climate-altering pollutants into our air, and is a serious threat to our water supply. Unconventional gas production operations also have negative impacts on communities, forests, and parks. According to the expert Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of DOE’s Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, faulty and inadequate regulations mean that unconventional gas production comes with “a real risk of serious environmental consequences.”
Exacerbating Climate Change:
LNG itself is a carbon-intensive fuel,11 with life-cycle emissions significantly greater than that of natural gas. The energy needed to cool, liquefy, and store natural gas for overseas shipment makes LNG more energy- and greenhouse-gas-intensive than ordinary pipeline gas and even some fuel oils.
Opening our natural gas reserves to unlimited exports will therefore increase the world’s dependency on a fossil fuel with significant climate impacts. •
Locking in Fossil Fuel infrastructure and methane Emissions: LNG export requires a large new industrial infrastructure that includes a network of natural gas wells, terminals, liquefaction plants, pipelines, and compressors that all require thorough environmental review. For example, whether exporters are expanding old pipelines or building new ones, these construction projects can cut across private property and public land, further fragmenting landscapes and increasing pollution. There are also environmental impacts associated with the building of natural gas export terminals, which may require the dredging of sensitive estuaries to make room for massive LNG tankers. Expanding facilities and ship traffic will also take a toll on coastal communities and the environment. Additionally, natural gas production and infrastructure, including wells and pipelines, have 6been found to leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas that traps nearly 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.
Increased exports, therefore, will also likely drive increased methane emission and exacerbate climate change.• Shifting the Domestic Gas market Toward Coal: U.S. exports of natural gas would raise demand for U.S. natural gas, causing an increase in domestic gas prices. While the magnitude of the price increase will depend on the amount of gas exported and the elasticity of supply, a recent report commissioned by Dow Chemical estimates that natural gas prices in the U.S. could triple by 2030 under a high-export scenario.
Analysis also shows that the price increase in natural gas will shift the domestic gas market back toward coal.
As the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes, “the decrease in natural gas consumption is replaced with increased coal consumption.”
As a result, LNG exports likely increase CO2 emissions from U.S. power generation, according to the EIA. Despite all these impacts, the TPP would strip the ability of the United States to even examine whether exports are in the national interest, and cause the United States to forever cede its control over this natural resource.
nEW RiGHTSTo FoSSiL FuEL CoRPoRATionSTo CHALLEnGE CLimATE PoLiCiES
The investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement—one of three leaked TPP chapters—would give corporations expansive new rights, including the right to sue governments in non-transparent trade tribunals over public interest regulations that corporations allege reduce their expected profits. Using rules similar to those that included in the TPP, corporations such as ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Chevron, and Occidental Oil have launched more than 514 known cases against 95 governments.
Among the harmful investment rules in the TPP are:• Definition of investment: The definition of investment in the TPP goes far beyond real property and capital investments, but includes, for example, the “expectation of gain or profit.”
This broad definition of investment opens governments up to a wide range of lawsuits not even related to actual investments. 7• minimum Standard of Treatment and Fair and Equitable Treatment: The TPP guarantees investors a “minimum standard of treatment” and “fair and equitable treatment” when they invest or plan to invest in a TPP country. These vaguely worded provisions, which have been included in previous trade and investment agreements, leave governments vulnerable to lawsuits from foreign corporations simply for introducing or amending laws and policies in their own countries.• indirect Expropriation: The TPP would protect foreign corporations from “indirect” expropriation, which can include any law or regulatory measure that merely reduces the value of a foreign firm’s future expected profits.
For example, a new regulation in the natural gas industry that reduces the profits of an investor, such as additional permit requirements, could be considered not only a violation of fair and equitable treatment described above, but also indirect expropriation.• investor-state Dispute Settlement: When a corporation believes its minimum standard of treatment or other rights have been violated, the investor-state dispute settlement allows it to sue a host country’s government in private trade tribunals. Not only do these tribunals give corporations the same legal standing as democratically elected governments, but they also lack transparency and public oversight.
Moreover, since there is no cap on the amount of damages a tribunal can award to a corporation, the mere threat of an investor-state suit can be enough to dissuade governments from enacting important public-protecting measures.These are not hypothetical dangers. In fact, current trends demonstrate that investor-state cases challenging public-interest regulations are quickly becoming the norm. Listed below are just a few investor-state suits that exemplify how investment rules can limit a government’s ability to enact climate change measures, protect the environment, and ensure the safety of its citizens.
Fracking in Quebec
In September 2013, Lone Pine Resources, a U.S. oil and gas firm, filed a lawsuit against Canada for U.S. $250 million under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The crime: A bill passed by Quebec’s National Assembly that instituted a moratorium on shale gas exploration and development, including fracking, under the St. Lawrence River.
According to Lone Pine representatives, the Quebec government acted “with no cognizable public purpose,” and violated the Enterprise’s “valuable right to mine for oil and gas under the St. Lawrence River,” despite the fact that the fracking process is known to contaminate drinking water, pollute the air, and cause earthquakes.
Lone Pine, however, argues that its loss of a “stable business and legal environment” violated its minimum standard of treatment and should be counted as expropriation.
Nuclear Energy in Germany
Following Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011, and in the midst of significant public pressure, the German parliament made a decision to phase out its nuclear power program and shift toward cleaner renewable energy sources. In response, Vattenfall, a Swedish energy firm with investments in German nuclear energy, filed a request for arbitration against Germany at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Citing the fair and equitable treatment provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty—an EU trade and investment agreement for the energy sector—Vattenfall is now seeking U.S. $4.6 billion in damages from the German people for future losses that it may sustain during the nuclear phase-out.
Toxic Chemical Bans in Canada
In 1995, Canada banned the export of polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, wastes to the United States. PCBs are a group of man-made chemicals that were found to pose serious risks to human health and the environment. In response to the ban, S.D. Myers, Inc., an Ohio-based corporation that processes and disposes of PCB waste, filed an investor-state claim against Canada under NAFTA, claiming violations to minimum standard of treatment, among other provisions. While Canada defended its measures as justified by environmental considerations—and despite the fact that Canada, as a signatory of Basel Convention, the multilateral environmental treaty on toxic-waste trade, was committed to banning the trade of toxics—the tribunal ruled in favor of SD Myers and ordered Canada to pay $5 million.26