Latest Leak Shows How TTIP Puts US-EU Clean Energy Goals in 'Mortal Danger'
A new leak provides further confirmation that the pro-corporate TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and European Union would result in “a giant leap backward in our fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
As the 14th round of TTIP negotiations started in Brussels on Monday, the Guardian reported that the latest draft of the agreement “could sabotage European efforts to save energy and switch to clean power.”
The draft energy chapter obtained by the Guardian “shows that the EU will propose a rollback of mandatory energy savings measures, and major obstacles to any future pricing schemes designed to encourage the uptake of renewable energies,” wrote reporter Arthur Nelson.
According to a Sierra Club analysis of the leak, the TTIP proposal would:
- Require the U.S. and the EU “to eliminate all existing restrictions on the export of natural gas in trade between” the two parties;
- Undermine clean energy policies, such as renewable portfolio standards or feed-in tariffs, by stating that electricity utilities in the U.S. and the EU shall not discriminate “between types of energy” in granting access to the electrical grid;
- Obligate the U.S. and the EU to “foster industry self-regulation” on energy efficiency rather than using mandatory requirements that oblige corporations to boost the energy efficiency of their products; and
- Threaten protections against destructive extraction of fossil fuels and natural resources in countries outside of the U.S. and EU.
“This leaked document goes farther than any past leaked or publicly available TTIP document on energy to reveal the threat that the deal poses to our efforts to protect our climate by fully transitioning to clean energy,” said Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program.
“For example,” she said, “never before have we seen a more explicit and sweeping assertion that all gas export restrictions in the United States should be wiped out under TTIP—a nightmare that would be a giant leap backward in our fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
Paul de Clerck of Friends of the Earth Europe (whose analysis is here, pdf) concurred that the language of the proposal would lead to “more fracking in the U.S. and more imports of American fossil fuels to Europe.” To that end, he said, the leaked chapter “is in complete contradiction with Europe’s commitments to tackle climate change, and the Paris agreement.”
What’s more, he added, “It will flood the EU market with inefficient appliances, and consumers and the climate will foot the bill. The proposal will also hinder measures to promote renewable electricity production from wind and solar.”
Greenpeace told Deutsche Welle, for instance, that German legislation giving renewable energy preferential access to the national grid would be regarded as illegal under the TTIP as written. Earlier this year, Germany produced so much energy from its solar, wind, hydro, and biomass plants that power prices went into negative territory for several hours—a milestone credited at the time to a people-powered “energy revolution.”
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