Climate pacts need tougher enforcement

Financial Times, 15 May 2015:

Martin Wolf seems unconcerned about the possible effect of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on environmental standards (Comment May 13)  So what about climate change?

Lord Deben, Chair of the independent government committee on climate change supports fracking in the UK provided it does not interfere with our climate change commitments. He has also stated that his committee would not hesitate to ban  fracking if  necessary. So imagine a scenario in 2030 whereby several US or European-based  companies are extracting shale gas and/or shale oil in the UK, and Lord Deben’s committee announced that further extraction was incompatible with the UK’s Climate Change Act which requires an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.

I have no doubt that those same companies would sue the British Government under the terms of TTIP, and the result would either be massive compensation or repeal of the Climate Change Act. It needs to be remembered that trade deals under the auspices of WTO have real teeth. There is no equivalent body to enforce environmental safeguards.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire