Earlier this week, an agreement was reached regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This trade agreement includes 12 countries that account for 40 percent of the world’s GDP. Much like the massive trade agreements in recent years past, it spells bad news for American jobs. Yet, while this secretive trade deal is slid under the feet of those in Congress and the American people, it spells even worse news for the environment.
This past January, WikiLeaks posted the “Environment Consolidated Text” from the TPP. While a lengthy text, the chapter regarding the environment and conservation only gives lip service to the issues and offers no real laws or law enforcement measures. That is to say, the authors acknowledged the environmental crisis we face, but refused to do anything to combat it. There are no penalties listed in any part of the text, pretty much giving corporations the right to do whatever they please to the environment (except with regards to fisheries, which seem to contain stronger language).
So what’s the problem with this? Well, the simple fact is that it really undermines the regulations and laws we have set in place to protect the environment. The TPP also contains a chapter that sets up an autonomous and sovereign court that can be summoned if a country attempts to punish a company for violating said laws. The court is set up to protect profits over the environment. If a country’s regulations impede the profitability of a company, that company can sue the country, arguing that its profits are more important than the stability of the government.
In short, we cannot let this become the new normal. This is an egregious violation of common sense laws. Frankly, it is immoral. Sacrificing the resources we truly need as a global society for a quick buck should not be legal. The obsession with money and the game of sitting on our hands waiting for the market to “work itself out” needs to end. People have to be vocal and demand that our governments represent the interests of the many and not the interests of the few.