The right to say no

EU-Canada trade agreement threatens fracking bans

3 May 2013
Pia Eberhardt, Emma Lui, Stuart Trew

As European Union (EU) member states consider the implications of environmentally risky shale gas development (fracking), negotiations are underway for a controversial EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) which would grant investors the right to challenge governments’ decision to ban and regulate fracking.

This briefing highlights the public debate around fracking; the interests of Canadian oil and gas companies in shale gas reserves in Europe; and the impacts an investment protection clause in the proposed CETA could have on governments’ ability to regulate or ban fracking. It examines the case study of the company Lone Pine Resources Inc. versus Canada, which, using a similar clause is challenging a fracking moratorium and suing the Canadian government for compensation, and warns this could be the state of things to come in Europe. It recommends that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism should not be included in CETA.

About the authors

Cecilia Olivet

Cecilia Olivet is a political scientist who specialises in the European Union's trade and investment agenda, the international investment regime and regional integration issues.  Cecilia is Uruguayan, has a BA degree in International Relations from Universidad de la República in Uruguay and an MA in International Politics and East Asia from Warwick University, UK. In 2005, she joined TNI where she contributes to the Economic Justice, Corporate Power and Alternatives team with research, analysis, campaigning and network facilitation. She coordinates the initiative People's Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) and is involved in the work of networks such as Seattle to Brussels (S2B), Our World is not for Sale (OWINFS) and Bi-regional Network Europe-Latin America Enlazando Alternativas.

Cecilia is currently a member of a Commission established by Presidential decree to audit Ecuador's bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and investment arbitration cases. The new commission, known by its acronym CAITISA, was formally launched in October 2013. 

Timothé Feodoroff

Timothé Feodoroff brought his enthusiasm to the agrarian justice programme shortly after graduating from a MA in Agricultural and Rural Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague). He holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Montreal (Canada). Besides strong taste for social and environmental justice he also has copious appetite food matters.

Recent publications from Agrarian Justice

Political Economy of the Rise of the Contemporary Industrial Tree Plantation Sector in Southern China

Industrial tree plantations (ITP), as a newly emerging sector, is expanding quickly and massively in Southern China, involving foreign corporations (including Finnish and Indonesian) tied to a variety of domestic partners, both state and corporate. In some places, the villagers embrace the land deals, while in others these land deals have provoked conflicts.

The Political Economy of Oil Palm as a Flex Crop

The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of oil palm flexing is heavily influenced by a synthesis of forces and relations within and around the oil palm value web. These dynamics impact the way flexing among oil palm’s different uses is influenced and/or carried out by various powerful actors within the state, the private sector, and civil society.

Authoritarian Resource Governance and Emerging Peasant Resistance in the Context of Sino-Vietnamese Tree Plantations

The rapid pace of the land rush by foreign investors in Laos has prompted significant concern by international observers, Lao civil society, and certain sections of the government, regarding the impacts upon farmers that are dispossessed of their land and communal resources.

Food Regimes and Food Regime Analysis: A Selective Survey

This paper aims to provide a systematic albeit selective survey of food regimes and food regime analysis since the seminal article by Harriet Friedmann and Philip McMichael in 1989 and further traced through their subsequent (individual) work.