How TPP and trade agreements undermine the Paris climate agreement
The Climate Cost of Free TradeBy Ben Lilliston
Published September 6, 2016
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
On Earth Day 2016, the U.S. joined 175 countries in signing the United Nations Paris climate agreement setting a path forward to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. A few months earlier, the U.S., along with 11 other countries, signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment deal. Remarkably, neither agreement acknowledged the other. The Paris agreement was silent on trade, and the TPP ignored the climate. As countries take action to protect the climate, conflicts between trade rules and climate goals will escalate. The intentional separation of these two global priorities is becoming increasingly untenable.
In this paper we’ll look at real world examples of how trade rules already conflict with climate goals, and dig into the TPP more deeply to project how the proposed deal creates barriers for countries trying to meet their Paris climate pledges. Along the way, we will review a variety of trade reform proposals designed to address our dysfunctional and climate-damaging trade regime.
At the heart of the Paris climate agreement are national-level plans, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Though these INDCs are voluntary, they are considered a critical first step for an agreement designed to progressively ratchet up national commitments to collectively limit a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial age levels. Within each INDC are goals, policies and strategies to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to climate change in various sectors.