Climate Deception: Non-binding “Targets” for Climate, but Binding Rules on Trade in Services
The whole world is watching as world leaders from nearly every country across the globe meet in Paris this week to set carbon emission reductions targets to address global climate change.
Unfortunately representatives of 50 of the same governments are also meeting this week in Geneva to negotiate binding rules that will seriously constrain countries’ ability to meet those targets.
The 15th round of talks to create a “Trade in Services Agreement,” or TiSA, are occurring once again in Geneva. Members of the TiSA currently include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the U.S., and the 28 member states of the European Union. How come everyone knows about the Paris talks, but not those in Geneva? Because the Geneva talks are convened in secret – precisely because the negotiators don’t want the public to know what they’re up to.
The TiSA is modeled on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the WTO, which Naomi Klein has documented in her book, This Changes Everything, has been used extensively against environmental policies. Yet the point of the TiSA is to go further than the GATS because corporations see the existing rules as not “ambitious enough.” The financial services, logistics and technological corporations, largely in the United States and also the EU, are attempting to expand the WTO’s GATS to develop a set of deregulation and privatization rules that constrain public oversight of how services operate domestically and globally, setting aside environmental, labor, and development issues in favor of transnational corporate rights to operate and profit.