In his State of the Union (#SOTU) speech Tuesday night, U.S. President Barack Obama supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership (#TPP) as a deal that will protect the environment, but not everyone on Twitter agreed with his assessment.
The #TPP, which was released officially to the public last fall, is a free-trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. U.S. supporters of the agreement say it would cut taxes on American-made products and supports more domestic high-paying jobs.
In a tweet during #SOTU, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (@USTradeRep) said “#TPP includes the most robust enforceable environment commitments of any trade agreement in history.”
According to the #TPP text released by the White House, the agreement includes a provision on transitioning to a low emissions and resilient economy that allows parties to the agreement to cooperate on issues related to, among other things, energy efficiency; development of cost-effective, low-emissions technologies and alternative, clean and renewable energy sources; and emissions monitoring.
So, what is Sierra Club’s concern? The #TPP, according to Sierra Club, puts an increased emphasis on fossil fuels that would displace cleaner energy resources, such as renewables.
In its report “A Dirty Deal,” Sierra Club said the #TPP would require the U.S. Department of Energy to automatically approve all exports of LNG. Sierra Club also said that the #TPP procurement rules would restrict governments’ autonomy to mandate “green purchasing,” such as requiring energy to come from renewable sources in government contracts. Such policies, Sierra Club said, “could be challenged for having the unintended effect of creating an unnecessary obstacle to trade.”
In his support of the agreement during #SOTU, Obama called on all parties to approve the #TPP. In the U.S., Congress will need to vote on the agreement, a move that a representative of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office told The Hill last week likely would not happen until after the presidential election this year.
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