One year ago, the Sierra Club submitted comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative about a newly proposed trade deal with the European Union, warning that it could have irreversible effects on communities and the climate crisis we all face. Today, a leaked text of the proposed deal reveals that those comments were more than foreshadowing -- the health of our families, our communities, and our climate are indeed in danger.
"A trade alliance between the U.S. and the European Union could offer an opportunity to improve safeguards across the Atlantic that protect our air, water and other natural resources," I said in a press release just about a year ago. "However, a transatlantic trade and investment agreement would have devastating consequences if free trade is pursued at the expense of environmental protection and consumer and worker rights."
The Sierra Club worked with our European partner, PowerShift, a German non-profit organization working at the intersection of trade and energy, to analyze the draft of the European Union's proposal for trading raw materials and energy. Our partners at Earthjustice also published a detailed analysis of the text. Unfortunately, the text reveals a dangerous proposal that threatens our climate and hinders the ability of governments and communities to tackle the crisis.
Despite the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) warning that roughly two-thirds of existing fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground and that countries must urgently scale up renewable energy development and deployment to avoid climate catastrophe, this proposal would actually:
- Expand fossil fuel exports from the U.S. to the EU, and therefore increase fracking and mining in the U.S.;
- Limit the ability of governments to set the terms of their energy policy; and
- Restrict the development of local renewable energy programs.
Let's dig inside the text to understand how it would put our climate at risk.