The TPP and climate change: two issues at once!

Published online 24 April 2015.

OK, so first the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Nobody is allowed to see it, but it’s going to pass.  The White House is working with Republicans on this one.

One of the things TPP will probably be able to do is that it will in all likelihood create an “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” mechanism, wherein state restrictions on business can be formulated as curbs on “investor rights,” thus allowing for a sort of absolutist capitalism in which the unaccountable ISDS courts, staffed by corporate representatives, can continually rewrite the rules so as to create ever-expanding definitions of “investor rights.”  Public Citizen:

There are no new safeguards that limit ISDS tribunals’ discretion to create ever-expanding interpretations of governments’ obligations to foreign investors and order compensation on that basis.The leaked text reveals the same “safeguard” terms that have been included in U.S. pacts since the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). CAFTA tribunals have simply ignored the “safeguard” provisions that the leaked text replicates for the TPP, and have continued to rule against governments based on concocted obligations to which governments never agreed. The leaked text also abandons a safeguard proposed in the 2012 leaked TPP investment text, which excluded public interest regulations from indirect expropriation claims, stating, “non-discriminatory regulatory actions … that are designed and applied to achieve legitimate public welfare objectives, such as the protection of public health, safety and the environment do not constitute indirect expropriation.” Today’s leaked text eviscerates that clause by adding a fatal loophole that has been found in past U.S. pacts.

The trade deals will basically rewrite zoning and land-use law.  The TPP and other such deals will guarantee profits for multinational corporations.Okay, so that’s the TPP, and probably also the TTIP and a number of other deals.  (Meanwhile, the White House claims that Hillary Clinton is on board with all this.  There’s nothing like good insurance.)  What does this have to do about abrupt climate change?

The sort of global governance which will be necessary to mitigate abrupt climate change is being reinforced, here — but the rules are being written to give everyone global governance in the form of ironclad corporate hegemony, locking in profits for those who expect them, rather than in any form conducive to the medium-term future survival of planetary civilization.

It’s hard to imagine any of the signatories to these details being able to do anything about climate change besides buying a few solar panels and hoping for the best.  You know, without catching some adverse rulings from the ISDS courts.  It’s definitely hard to imagine any sort of “keep the grease in the ground” strategy with the TPP and the TTIP in place.  Is that okay with everyone here?

And once our system of global governance starts guaranteeing corporate profits, how far of a leap is it for them to guarantee profits for fossil fuel interests?


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