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Trade Deals and the Environmental Crisis

Trade Deals and the Environmental Crisis

Those representing the U.S. in these negotiations are mainly business lobbyists who have been given the frame of state power to promote policies that benefit the businesses they represent. The thrust of the agreements is to enhance corporate power through legal mechanisms including patents, intellectual property rights and ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) provisions that create supranational judiciaries run by corporate lawyers for the benefit of corporations. Shifting the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions to the corporations producing them precludes effective regulation in the public interest. The position that environmental harms must be proven before regulations are implemented leaves a dead planet as the admissible evidence.

U.S. President Barack Obama is both the most articulate American politician urging action on climate change and the central Liberal proponent of the trade agreements. The apparent paradox isn’t difficult to understand— the trade agreements will be legally binding on signatory states while Mr. Obama’s statement of the problem won’t be. As evidence of global warming mounts the Republican tactic of denial is looking more and more delusional. By articulating the problem Mr. Obama poses Democrats as the solution while handing the power to curtail greenhouse gas emissions to business lobbyists and corporate lawyers.

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