Davos: “Zombie” TPP trade deal threatens our fractured world

Amsterdam, 24 January 2018:  Friends of the Earth International has warned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal could threaten people and planet if signed and ratified by national parliaments in March this year.

The remarks came as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Australian Trade Minister and other leaders meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos (23-26 January) celebrated the conclusion of the deal between 11 countries countries in Asia-Pacific.

Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International trade campaigner, said:

“It is no wonder the corporate elite at Davos are celebrating this zombie TPP deal. It enables foreign companies to sue governments in secret trade tribunals for almost any measure that harms their expected profits.”

The topic of this year’s World Economic Forum “Creating a shared future in a fractured world”.

Cossar-Gilbert added:

“The TPP threatens ‘our fractured world’ and the UN Sustainable Development Goals by undermining regulation on food safety, access to medicine, chemical use and climate change. Sadly, world leaders at Davos remain addicted to failed neoliberal policies. When leaders and trade officials leave the comfort of the Davos ski resort, environmentalists, trade unions and farmers will be there to stop the zombie TPP deal and other corporate trade deals.”


More info:

  • Neoliberalism: A form of free market fundamentalism that has been the dominant global economic ideology for the last 30 years which profit and “efficiency” are the central goals of society.  It is a framework focused on reducing the role of the state and taxation, while promoting privatization, deregulation and corporate trade deals. According to Friends of the Earth International, this has led to soaring inequality, whereby just 8 people have the same wealth as half the world’s population and an environmental crisis in the form of unprecedented species loss and dangerous climate change.

East Gippsland old growth forest blockade enters fourth day

Media Release – 25th January 2018  — Goongerah Environment Centre  (GECO)

Old growth logging operations in far East Gippsland have been stopped again for the fourth day this week, as conservationists continue to blockade the access road to the VicForests logging coupe at Granite Mountain, near the Errinundra National Park.

A person is suspended in a hammock hanging from a tripod structure that is blocking the road and preventing access to the logging site. Logging in the old growth forest has been unable to proceed since the blockade was established on Monday morning.

“Giant trees have thrived here for centuries, trees that were growing well before the British colonised Australia are under threat, thanks to the efforts of the people on the blockade this ancient forest is safe for today. The Victorian government urgently need to formally protect East Gippsland’s forests by extending existing parks and reserves,” said Goongerah Environment Centre spokesperson Ed Hill.

“East Gippsland is the Victorian stronghold for old growth forest, it’s the only place remaining on mainland Australia where forests are continuous from the alps to the coast. The region has been identified by the Victorian government has having the highest biodiversity value in the state, yet the government continue logging at a massive loss to the tax payer,” said Ed Hill.

VicForests internal documents reveal a $5.5 million dollar annual loss on logging in East Gippsland[1].

“There are great economic opportunities in East Gippsland that do no involve trashing our environment. With adequate investment in nature based tourism, environmentally focussed land management programs and carbon sequestration our forests could bring great wealth to the region, instead these valuable natural assets are being destroyed at the expense of the environment and the tax payer,” said Ed Hill

“If the native logging industry was sustainable they’d be logging plantations and re growth only.… Read more >>

Trade deals must not be negotiated in secret

Trade deals affect people’s everyday lives from the food we eat to the energy we use, and should not be discussed in secret, behind closed doors. Yet sadly, this is exactly what is happening at this year’s upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Buenos Aires from 10-13 December.

Friends of the Earth International has been advocating for a fair and sustainable trade agenda for over two decades, yet this is the first time we have been banned from participating in the WTO.

In an unprecedented move, the Argentine government revoked our accreditation, together with 60 individuals from a diverse range of trade unions, farmers’ and consumer rights organisations.

The official reason for our ban is that we have “been making explicate calls for violent protests on social media, desiring to create scenes of chaos and intimidation.” Yet this information can be disproved simply by checking our Twitter account, which has never made incitements to violence.
“Locking people out of the WTO will only further undermine its legitimacy.”

At the same time, we do not shy away disagreeing with many of the pro-corporate policies and deals being pushed by the WTO and the Argentine government, which are often stumbling blocks for action on climate change.

When India’s National Solar Mission, which aims to bring energy to millions of people by building 100 GW of solar energy, was found “guilty” by the WTO of creating local jobs, we spoke up.

We have also protested WTO policies that penalise and prohibit developing countries from undertaking public stockholding programmes. This blocks food sovereignty for the world’s poorest, and livelihoods for peasant, indigenous and small-scale farmers, yet allows the EU and USA to provide massive global market distorting subsidies that beef up agribusiness interests while ruining farmers abroad.

A crackdown on our rights to debate and oppose such trade policies is an attack on our ability to decide what kind of world we want to live in.Read more >>

Westgate Tunnel hearings nothing but concerns

Since I started as the FoE & PTNT Sustainable Cities campaigner I have been continually shocked as I learn more about the Transurban $5.5 billion mega-toll road proposed for Melbourne’s West.

What started as a much needed proposal to get noisy, poisonous trucks off the residential streets of Melbourne’s inner West has now morphed into a crazy plan to lock the West into a car dependent future. Titled a tunnel, it actually consists of a 12-lane toll way, short tunnel, 3 giant bridges across the Maribyrnong River, then an 18-lane double-decker road leading to spaghetti interchanges and flyovers.

For the last few weeks, I have joined concerned residents from the west at the environmental effects (EES) hearings of the project.

Here, with the lawyers and the bureaucrats, ordinary citizens are trying to digest the 10,000 pages of environmental effects information in an insultingly short time. Many of the representatives are volunteers – residents and community groups that don’t have dedicated employees or professional experts to untangle the volume of information within the documents.

As Rosa McKenna from Better West – Spotswood South Kingsville Residents Group says “the government and Transurban are trying to push this project though, but we know it is wrong for so many reasons: shifting truck traffic onto other inner west streets in Hobsons Bay, with the health and safety implications, and locking us into decades more of road based infrastructure”.… Read more >>

AYCC seeks crowdfunding for billboard promoting Repower Port Augusta campaign

Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition is active in promoting renewable energy for South Australia. Now is a critical time. Can you help?

Imagine what it will feel like to finally win the campaign to repower Port Augusta with solar thermal! 

That decision could happen in just weeks. And we’re SO excited and SO nervous.

That’s why together we have to make a statement in the Adelaide CBD with this billboard, just down the road from Parliament House. Can you donate to send a message to Premier Weatherill and the SA Government that it’s time to back solar thermal in Port Augusta?

Every $4,000 raised means we can display the billboard for another fortnight so every dollar you contribute makes a big difference.

For the last 5 years, Port Augusta locals, South Australians and folks across the country have been fighting tooth and nail to make solar thermal a reality. Now, on the eve of the Premier’s decision, we have to make sure it’s the right one.

The right decision for SA’s power supply, for the people of Port Augusta, for our climate and for our national energy debate.

We are so close. We just need Jay to come through with the goods. Chip in what you can to put this billboard up right under Jay’s nose.

This is the final push of the campaign to build Australia’s first solar thermal tower with storage. We’ve thrown everything at this campaign – billboards, rallies, community votes, videos, petitions, MP visits, banners, walking 328km for solar…

This could be the public message that pushes Jay over the edge.

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