Press Enza | 18 September 2019
Trade and investment treaties aggravate the climate crisis
"The Campaign ‘No to trade and investment treaties’, made up of more than 100 organizations and of which Ecologistas en Acción is part, encourages the participation of citizens in the mobilizations of September 27.
Trade and investment treaties are incompatible with reducing emissions, make it difficult to adopt the necessary measures to confront the ecological crisis and aggravate the climate emergency.
In order to respond quickly and forcefully to the climate, ecological and civilizing emergency, the campaign proposes a 180º turn in trade policies so that they put climate protection, biodiversity and human rights before private profit."
By Ecologists in Action
The Campaign ‘No to trade and investment treaties’ has signed the manifesto on the World Climate Strike on 27 September. Its more than 100 organizations, including Ecologistas en Acción, have denounced that our socioeconomic model is far from proposing solutions to the climate crisis. On the contrary, this model deepens this crisis and puts at risk human survival, that of many other species and ecosystems, especially affecting the most impoverished and vulnerable populations.
Trade and investment treaties – such as the Energy Charter Treaty or the recently reached agreement between the EU and Mercosur – are one of the main gears of a globalisation that promotes an international trade model. For the campaigners, this is an intrinsically unsustainable and unfair model.
According to social and environmental organizations, the increase in global trade increases the pressure on natural resources. In addition, it destroys ecosystems, accelerates the global loss of biodiversity and leads to human rights violations in the context of countless socio-ecological conflicts around the world.
It also entails a greater use of fossil fuels, inherent to the increase in the quantity of goods produced and transported over long distances, which means more greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce emissions, it makes sense to reduce, rather than increase, the volume of global trade.
On the other hand, trade and investment treaties, by weakening or removing environmental regulations, make it easier for companies to exploit nature and reduce the ability of governments to promote sustainable patterns of production and consumption. It has been demonstrated on many occasions that they constitute a legal shield for multinationals, endowing them with supranational powers and allowing them to continue with unsustainable activities that destroy nature and endanger the survival of life as we know it.
The ‘No to trade and investment treaties’ campaign uses as an example the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which “allows the big energy oligopolies to extort the signatory countries of the treaty in the face of any democratic attempt to carry out far-reaching reforms in the energy sector”. It makes it difficult to make a just transition to a model based on renewable energies and to leave fossil fuels behind.
Another example is the recently announced trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur. This agreement will have particularly pernicious effects on ecosystems such as the Amazon, which is basic for regulating the climate throughout the planet, by favouring exports of agricultural raw materials from countries such as Brazil and Bolivia.
The already undeniable effects of the climate crisis show that the policies of commercial globalisation and increasing exploitation of resources that feed our unsustainable consumption patterns must undergo a 180º turn. All possible mechanisms within the global policy framework must be put in place to reverse this harmful socio-economic model.
Within the framework of this analysis, the ‘No to trade and investment treaties’ campaign has specified its demands in three points:
1. The EU must refrain from negotiating new trade treaties and paralyse the ratification processes of agreements such as CETA, with Canada, or the agreement with Mercosur, so celebrated by Pedro Sánchez. This agreement would increase the pressure on ecosystems as important as the Amazon and is a boost to the environmental policies of governments like Jair Bolsonaro.
2. The EU must radically change its trade policies so that they put climate protection, biodiversity and human rights before corporate profit. Binding legislation at national, EU and international level should be encouraged to end the impunity of transnational corporations around the world by holding them legally accountable for their actions.
3. States should move away from treaties already signed that allow transnational corporations to sue them before ISDS arbitration tribunals for promoting legislation that they consider prejudicial to their interests. This threat is a major disincentive for governments to adopt effective environmental and climate policies. This is evident in the demands linked to the Energy Charter Treaty, under which Spain is the most demanded country in the world.
For all of the above, along with the other 300 organizations that signed the manifesto, the campaign ‘No to trade and investment treaties’ has called on citizens to join the mobilizations planned for next September 27 in the different cities of Spain.