Environmental advocates in Australia said the final language in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal confirmed their “worst nightmares.” The full text of the deal was released Thursday morning and included just one chapter addressing the environment.
The chapter did not include any mention of the term “climate change” and fails to address environmental concerns on several other levels, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a sweeping trade agreement between 12 Pacific nations.
“The agreement has poor coverage of environmental issues, and weak enforcement mechanisms. There is only limited coverage of biodiversity, conservation, marine capture fisheries, and trade in environmental services,” said Matthew Rimmer, a professor specializing in intellectual property and innovation law at the Queensland University of Technology. "The final text of the chapter does not even mention 'climate change' – the most pressing global environmental issue in the world. ”
Rimmer said that it appears that American trade officials had been “green washing” the deal before the final text was available.
The deal was marketed by the White House as implementing “tough, fully enforceable standards [that] will protect workers’ rights and the environment for the first time in history.” The office says that the environment will be protected in at least five ways by the TPP: It will work against illegal wildlife trading; protect the world’s oceans by preventing overfishing; it will fight against illegal logging; and, finally, the deal is said to have trade sanctions for violated environmental protections.
The trade deal, which is the biggest negotiated trade overhaul since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), wasn’t without controversy in the United States. In Congress, President Barack Obama found rare Republican support while he struggled to convince lawmakers from his own party to back trade promotion authority. The public backlash led to Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reverse course on earlier statements she made about the deal, and now says she does not support it.