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Climate activists hold a banner protesting the TPP at a rally in Washington, DC on October 14, 2015.  (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

New Report Details TPP's 'Panoply of Threats' to Climate

The 12-nation pact would be 'raw deal for communities and our climate,' Sierra Club says

Andrea Germanos

The TransPacific Partnership (TPP) is a "polluter-friendly" deal that "poses a panoply of threats to our climate and environment," a new report from the Sierra Club finds.

Released Wednesday as the United Nations COP21 climate summit in Paris is underway, A Dirty Deal: How the Trans-Pacific Partnership Threatens Our Climate (pdf) details how the TPP would erect barriers to a needed clean energy transition while bolstering corporate power and interests.

While the final text of the deal that includes the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations was released last month, the environmental organization describes its report as "the first comprehensive review of the TPP’s climate implications."

"After years of extraordinary secrecy," the report states, "it’s finally clear what TPP negotiators were trying to hide: The TPP is a raw deal for communities and our climate."

With the words "climate change" entirely absent from the 6,000-page deal, it offers "a clear sign it is not 'a 21st-century trade agreement.'" Not only would the deal not address climate change—it would actually make it worse, the publication states.

The group's analysis finds that, if approved, the TPP would: empower fossil fuel corporations to attack climate policies in private tribunals; lock in dirty fossil fuel production by expediting natural gas exports; increase climate-disrupting emissions by shifting U.S. manufacturing overseas; and impose new limits on government efforts to combat climate disruption.

Explaining how the deal would increase carbon emissions with a shift towards more overseas manufacturing, Ben Beachy and Ilana Solomon of the Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program write in a blog post that

the TPP would force U.S. manufacturers to compete directly with companies in low-wage countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, encouraging U.S. manufacturing to set up operations abroad. This “offshoring” of U.S. manufacturing would not only cost us jobs in the U.S., but also increase climate-disrupting emissions. This is because production in Vietnam is more than four times as carbon-intensive, and production in Malaysia is twice as carbon-intensive, as U.S. production. This shift in manufacturing from the United States to countries on the other side of the Pacific Ocean would also increase shipping-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The TPP would further expand climate-disrupting emissions by eliminating tariffs on cash crops like oil palm, encouraging wider production in countries such as Malaysia, where oil palm expansion has played a leading role in destroying tropical forests that capture carbon. Increased oil palm production also would fuel an industry that is already rife with human rights and labor abuses.

"As the world’s leaders gather in Paris to tackle climate disruption, the U.S. is pushing its largest trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which not only fails to mention the climate crisis, but is actually counterproductive," Solomon said in a media statement.

In addition to criticism the deal has received based on its threats to the environment, it has been opposed by a range of organizations for its threats to digital rights, public health, food safety, democracy, and workers' rights.

When the deal was released last month, it began a 90-day countdown for President Barack Obama to sign it. After his signature by Feb. 4, 2016, the deal must ratified by the U.S. House and Senate.

Boing Boing joins other other organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation in efforts to kill the deal, and is encouraging people "[t]o overwhelm Congress members with emails and messages from their constituents demanding that they vote down the TPP when the implementing legislation comes before them."

"Congress should reject the toxic Trans-Pacific Partnership to ensure that we do not undermine any climate deal that emerges in Paris," Solomon added


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