The Trans-Pacific Partnership… What’s to Review?

[Our own Bonnie McKinlay spoke recently at a rally to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an international trade agreement that could be approved by Congress without any public debate. If you’re not familiar, Bonnie’s words are are great introduction to what’s at stake.]

I’m here to talk about climate and TPP.

To speak on climate I would review the most recent information — latest science, latest fossil fuel extraction plans, on-going droughts… species loss.

To speak on TPP’s effects on climate, what’s to review? Most of the contents of the TransPacific Partnership are secret. Eleven nations and the U.S. Congress are asked to sign a secret trade agreement that they are not permitted to share with their constituents. This eliminates any opportunity to voice our views on the specifics of the trade pact. The TTP is so secret that our elected representatives must approach it without recording devices of any kind, including paper and pencil.  They are permitted no open debate on the TPP. However, 600 corporate representatives, such as Monsanto and the American Petroleum Institute, have full access to the document. We don’t know much about the TPP. What we do know comes from WikiLeaks and the disastrous history of NAFTA.

Theoretically, governments have the role of protecting their people. Obviously, we find endless examples of the corruption of this principle, but let’s assume that the ideal government is out there to protect its people. How about protecting them from the untamed extraction practices of the fossil fuel industry?

Well, we know of the many ways this industry can compromise the health of creatures, habitat, cultures and ultimately, all life on the planet. Because of the ruthlessness of fossil fuel extraction, we seek stringent study. This can lead to regulations and denials of harmful projects. However, under the TransPacificPartnership, safeguards for the corporation’s interest rule.

Using that ideal government model, without TPP, suppose a company initiates a project that uses CHEMICAL X — feel free to substitute benzene, fracking, strip-mining for CHEMICAL X. The NO-TPP government agency studies CHEMICAL X and will permit it or regulate it or deny it. Hopefully, discussion emerges from an alert public, the media, industry representatives, scientists, and health professionals.

However, under TPP, if CHEMICAL X merits regulation or prohibition, the CHEM X Corporation can take their case to a corporate -controlled, non-governmental tribunal. There, that highly partial body can rule that the regulation or ban of CHEMICAL X reduces the corporation’s expected profits. It determines that the CHEM X Corporation deserves compensation for this financial loss. Within the TPP guidelines, there is NO limit to this monetary reward.

So who pays?

Under TPP, since the government regulated against CHEM X, the government is responsible for the corporation’s hardship and is expected to PAY UP. Of course, the money is collected from the people in the form of taxes or diminishing services. The People Will Pay.

With that kind of corporate-operated tribunal outcome, how likely are any of the 12 TPP nations going to regulate ANY industry?

Under these TPP conditions, how likely is it that a government will take on the questionable practices of a fossil fuel corporation?

The TPP wraps up our planet in a neat, no-risk package perfect for corporate gifting.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, climate activists work hard in their campaigns. In a Trans-Pacific Partnership world, their efforts would be completely undermined.

It is insane in these days of 400 parts per million to do anything that further contributes to climate change. To use the TPP to clear the way for the corporate desecration of our living earth is nothing less than depraved.

Our planet is nurturing and generous to life.  The TTP is designed to give increased power to those tearing away at our special planet. PLEASE OPPOSE IT! Please do more by contacting friends and elected officials, by learning what you can, by speaking out. Our voices. Our actions. OUR UNITY — That’s all we have!