CREDIT: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
by Katie Valentine May 2, 2016 2:29 pm
By now, most in the environmental community know that there are major environmental and climate change concerns surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — that it could empower corporations to sue governments over environmental decisions and policies, for instance. But another trade deal, one being forged between the United States and European Union, has gotten less attention — until now.
On Monday, Greenpeace Netherlands leaked documents from negotiations surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The 248 pages of documents — which account for about a third of the total text — illustrate four major environmental concerns, Greenpeace says.
First, “nothing indicating climate protection can be found in the obtained texts.” Second, the trade agreement would put the “precautionary principle,” which is generally used in the E.U., in jeopardy. Under the precautionary principle, actions or products that could have a negative impact on the environment or people’s health are guilty until proven innocent — that is, the action or product must be proven to be not harmful. In the United States, the more common approach is to wait until there’s a full scientific consensus — or at least close to one — that something is harmful before action is taken.
“The precautionary principle, enshrined in the E.U. Treaty, is not mentioned in the chapter on Regulatory Cooperation, nor in any other of the obtained 12 chapters,” Greenpeace notes. “On the other hand the U.S. demand for a ‘risk based’ approach that aims to manage hazardous substances rather than avoid them, finds its way into various chapters. This approach undermines the ability of regulators to take preventive measures, for example regarding controversial substances like hormone disrupting chemicals.”