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

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Five Sites of Struggle and potential Transformation

Across the United States, communities are fighting to defend the resources they need to produce food. How is corporate control of the food system undermining the livelihoods of farmers, farmworkers, fisherpeople, communities of color, and indigenous peoples in the US. Find in this brief numerous examples of community-based resistance, grassroots solidarity, and broad-based alliances that are resisting the corporate takeover of land and resources.

Women Agricultural Workers

While access to waged agricultural work can bring about benefits to women, this paper aims to shed light on the discriminatory working conditions women agricultural workers endure in industries where women have traditionally constituted a significant share of the workforce.

The Politics of Flexing Soybeans in China and Brazil

The trajectories of soy developments in Brazil and China are related despite moving largely in opposite directions.

The Politics of Sugarcane flexing in Brazil and beyond

Flex crops, spread over greater expanses of land, are increasingly interlinked through international exchange in food, feed and fuel. Brazilian exports of sugarcane ethanol to the US are in part influenced by the domestic US production of maize ethanol, which in turn is shaped by the price of feed and the soybean supply.