Green Party: Obama's promotion of trade deals during his State of the Union undermines effort to curb climate change
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greens stress the need for a "Green New Deal"
View and download Green Party responses to the 2015 State of the Union: http://tinyurl.com/greenplaylist-2015sotu
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders urged Congress to reject President Obama's call for fast-track authority for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The President urged Congress to grant him such power when he delivered his 2015 State of the Union address on January 20. The Green Party opposes both agreements.
"President Obama's claim during his speech that his administration is commited to fighting climate change was undermined and contradicted by his support for new trade agreements and request for 'trade promotion authority.' The President didn't mention that he wants this authority so he can get the TPP and TTIP passed without scrutiny by Congress or the public," said Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
International trade agreements and authorities have allowed participating countries to challenge each others' local and national efforts to implement clean, renewable energy technologies and conservation programs and government subsidies for them, because such ventures violate "free trade" rules and constitute illegal protectionism and trade discrimination.
Naomi Klein, in a recent book, documented how trade pacts and authorities like the World Trade Organization have obstructed programs and environmental laws that would lower CO2 emissions in many nations ("Hot Money," Chapter 2, pp. 64-95, in "This Changes Everything," 2014).
Examples include legislation against fracking in Quebec, phase-out of nuclear plants and conversion to renewable energy in Germany, and attempts by Peru to hold a mining company responsible for pollution -- all of which were nullified by trade authorities (see "Trading Away Our Climate? How Investment Rules Threaten the Environment and Climate Protection," Sierra Club, http://action.sierraclub.org/site/DocServer/Investor-State-Climate-FINAL.pdf?docID=16661). Greens stressed that allowing foreign nations and corporations to challenge nationally and locally enacted environmental laws undermines the principle of democratic sovereignty.
In his speech, the President said "I'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free, but fair." Greens called this language misleading in light of what is known about the TPP and TTIP.
The TPP is a major international trade pact negotiated in secret by the Obama Administration. Only a group of 600 trade "advisers," mostly representatives of major corporations, have been allowed to see drafts.
The trade deal has been called "NAFTA on steroids" by public-interest groups warning that it will outsource jobs and threaten labor, environmental, public-health, food-safety, and other protections. Sections of the deal leaked by Wikileaks confirm these warnings (see "Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Environment Chapter," Wikileaks, January 15, 2014, https://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro/pressrelease.html). The White House has turned down requests by members of Congress to see the drafts.
The Sierra Club has warned that "[t]he TPP may allow for significantly increased exports of liquefied natural gas without the careful study or adequate protections necessary to safeguard the American public. This would mean an increase of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the dirty and violent process that dislodges gas deposits from shale rock formations. It would also likely cause an increase in natural gas and electricity prices, impacting consumers, manufacturers, workers, and increasing the use of dirty coal power." (http://www.sierraclub.org/Trade/trans-pacific-partnership)
The TPP was never debated in 2012 because both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney supported it. Green candidates, including presidential nominee Jill Stein, strongly opposed it.
Green Party leaders strongly criticized the TPP and President Obama's request for fast-track authority during the party's "People's State of the Union" and advocated the "Green New Deal." Green responses to the 2015 State of the Union are posted online for viewing and downloading (http://tinyurl.com/greenplaylist-2015sotu).
The Green New Deal is a plan promoted by Green candidates that would boost ensure financial security for working people and create millions of new jobs by converting to a green-energy economy (http://www.gp.org/GreenNewDeal).
Greens said that top priorities of trade agreements should be fair trade (protections for workers, public health, and the environment) and stemming the advance of climate change.
For more about the TTIP, see "Green Party: Proposed U.S.-European Union trade pact threatens wages, environmental and consumer protections," Green Party press release, May 27, 2014 (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=704).
Greens said that President Obama has refused to take the climate crisis seriously, noting that his administration has blocked international proposals to enforce a cap of 2 degrees Celsius as a binding emissions reduction target, and because his domestic energy policies promote reliance on fossil fuels. During his State of the Union address, he said, "We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas."
Green Party leaders said that Republican anti-scientific denial of the climate crisis and obstruction of policies designed to reduce fossil-fuel use and lower emissions were even more dangerous to the health of the planet and future generations.
Green Party responses to President Obama's 2015 State of the Union are now posted online for viewing, downloading
Green Party press release, January 22, 2015
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Green Party press release, December 10, 2014
Flush the TPP!
Stop "Fast Track"
The Largest, Most Disastrous Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of
By Robert Reich, Alternet, January 6, 2015
A Year of Opportunity to Combat Climate Change and Transform Economies
By Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, January 22, 2015
Text of the 2015 State of the Union speech
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