As President Barack Obama heads to Paris for a climate-change summit, experts say his pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal creates a “vehicle to pass Obama’s climate change treaty.”
Howard Richman, Raymond Richman and Jesse Richman – authors of Balanced Trade: Ending the Unbearable Costs of America’s Trade Deficits and Trading Away Our Future – reviewed the 5,544 pages of the TPP trade pact between the United States and 11 other countries. They found that Chapter 20 in the TPP “requires compliance with previous multilateral environmental agreements that have been negotiated.”
The climate treaty that Obama wishes to finalize in Paris “will likely be incorporated into the TPP when the Commission first meets after the TPP passes,” the Richmans argue.
The Richmans build their claim on Article 20.4 of the TPP:
The Parties [recognize] that multilateral environmental agreements to which they are party play an important role, globally and domestically, in protecting the environment and that their respective implementation of these agreements is critical to achieving the environmental objectives of these agreements. Accordingly, each Party affirms its commitment to implement the multilateral environmental agreements to which it is a party.
The Parties [emphasize] the need to enhance the mutual supportiveness between trade and environmental law and policies, through dialogue between the Parties on trade and environmental issues of mutual interest, particularly with respect to the negotiation and implementation of relevant multilateral environmental agreements and trade agreements.
“When President Obama finished negotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal, he went first to the UN Security Council, not to Congress, to get the deal approved,” noted the Richmans. “More or less the same thing could happen with the multilateral environmental agreement that Obama negotiates in Paris. It will be incorporated into the TPP, whether Congress agrees with its terms or not.”
Also, chapter 27 of the TPP creates “Arbitration Tribunals.” These tribunals, according to the Richmans, “can impose multi-billion dollar fines upon the U.S. government if the U.S. violates anything that is in the pact.”
“In other words, the tribunals can force whatever Obama negotiates in Paris upon the American people, and Congress will have very little say,” argues the Richmans.
According to a White House press release, Obama plans to commit the United States to reducing carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels.
However, China – which has a higher carbon-emissions level – is allowed to continue growing its carbon emissions until 2030.
Obama argues that a climate deal will send a powerful message to the Islamic State terrorist group.