Will the “Right to Regulate” protect the planet from more greenhouse gas emissions?
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Friday NAFTA will not be used as a vehicle to stop Canada from protecting its environment and Canada is pushing for strong environmental standards in the agreement.
“The right for Canada to regulate to protect the environment is a top priority,” she said.
( The Canadian Press Published on Fri Sep 22 2017)
If Canada can negotiate strong environmental standards in NAFTA, it sounds good. But the devil (or the CO2 emissions) tends to be in the details.
The “proportionality clause” in NAFTA means Canada and the U.S. cannot reduce access to each other’s oil, natural gas, coal, electricity or refined petroleum products without an equivalent reduction in domestic access to the same product. So if Canada wants to cut oil exports to the U.S. by 10 per cent it has to cut domestic supplies by 10 per cent as well.
If the “The right for Canada to regulate to protect the environment is a top priority,” would that include regulating tar sands production, perhaps by taxing it? Or would Canada be immediately sued under ISDS for interfering with the profits of the multinationals (Koch brothers, etc.) who control over a million acres of Alberta tar sands?
Even if we can protect our environment, will we still be contributing to climate change be providing fossil fuel to burn?
The energy proportionality clause should to be removed from NAFTA.