Will NAFTA 2.0 Be For People Or Polluters? Leading Economists Present Original Research On NAFTA’s Climate Impacts, Trump’s New NAFTA Climate Threats, Proposal For Climate-Friendly Trade
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Sierra Club, the Council of Canadians, and Greenpeace Mexico released a new report, NAFTA 2.0: For People Or Polluters? In the trinational report, leading economists from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada present original research on the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) obstacles to climate progress and quantify the climate pollution locked in by the controversial trade deal.
As talks to renegotiate NAFTA intensify, the report reveals how the Trump administration’s NAFTA 2.0 agenda poses even greater climate threats. In contrast, the report lays out a new proposal for a climate-friendly NAFTA replacement.
“NAFTA was written to support corporate polluters, not climate-impacted communities. The deal must be fundamentally rewritten to benefit the working families hit hardest by the fossil fuel economy,” said Ben Beachy, report author and director of Sierra Club’s A Living Economy program. “Instead, Trump’s climate-denying agenda for NAFTA 2.0 would give corporations a new, backdoor way to block climate protections while letting them offshore more jobs and pollution. We cannot shift to a clean energy future if a corporate trade deal tethers us to the fossil fuel past.”
Written with input from fossil fuel executives, NAFTA includes an array of little-known rules that bind North America to fossil fuel dependency. After more than two decades of NAFTA, the deal is finally being renegotiated, offering an opportunity to prioritize climate-impacted communities and workers, not corporate polluters. Instead, the Trump administration is entertaining new corporate-backed rules for NAFTA 2.0 that would pose additional barriers to climate action.
“NAFTA’s existing protections for oil and gas corporations are exacerbating Mexico’s dependence on fossil fuels, crowding out wind and solar power, and encouraging fracking,” said Dr. Alejandro Álvarez Béjar, report author and economics professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “But proposals for NAFTA 2.0 could make matters even worse by locking in the deregulation of oil and gas in Mexico, creating long-lasting barriers to climate progress.”
“NAFTA’s little-known ‘proportionality’ rule locks Canada into perpetual production of climate-polluting tar sands oil and fracked gas, while giving corporate polluters a permanent green light to build tar sands oil pipelines to the U.S.,” said Dr. Gordon Laxer, report author, political economist, and founding director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta in Canada. “For Canada’s transition to a clean energy economy to begin, this polluter-friendly rule must end.”
“NAFTA 2.0 could expand the damage of Donald Trump’s attacks on climate policies by giving fossil fuel corporations increased influence over environmental regulations, or by pressuring Mexico and Canada to mirror Trump’s regulatory rollbacks,” said Dr. Frank Ackerman, report author and principal economist at Synapse Energy Economics in the United States. “Even if we are freed from Trump’s climate denialism in a few years, such NAFTA 2.0 proposals could prolong Trump’s polluting legacy for decades.”
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