With the EU seeking to diversify its energy sources and US companies eager to export their “unconventional” oil and gas riches, energy has become a major focus of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), about which the two blocs are negotiating. The EU is eager for the US to remove any barriers to the export of its natural gas and crude oil, as is clear from a leaked EU proposal. However, this drive for unrestrained fossil fuel trade will be disastrous for the climate , warns Ilana Solomon of Sierra Club. “The EU’s proposal reinforces a dangerous model of trade that will limit our ability to combat the climate crisis.”
“Climate change is a defining challenge of our time.” – EU Commission President Manuel Barroso, January 22, 20141
“Someday, our children, and our children’s children, will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world? And I want to be able to say, yes, we did.” – President Barack Obama, June 25, 20132
In May 2014, the Huffington Post published a draft of the European Union “non paper”3 on raw materials and energy in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an expansive free trade and investment agreement that is currently being negotiated between the United States and the European Union (EU).4 Because tariffs between the U.S. and the EU are already low, this pact will have little to do with traditional trade issues such as tariffs. Instead, the bulk of the agreement will focus on removing what many governments and multinational corporations refer to as “non-tariff barriers” or “trade irritants”—which are more commonly known as environmental, public health, and other public interest safeguards. The draft, dated September 20, 2013, serves as an important—and worrying—indicator of how the EU sees the development of trade rules governing energy and raw materials in the pact.