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

Policy Shift

'Policy Shift' answers the call for a paradigm shift in favour of investment in agricultural alternatives by identifying a set of ten key policy changes that are required to support and promote positive alternative investments. The approach adopted is both a normative one informed by prevailing human rights norms and an empirical one informed by practical, on-the-ground examples of positive agricultural investments.

Day of Dialogue on Knowledge for Food Sovereignty

On January 24 more than 300 academics and activists from around the world came together at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague for the Colloquium Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue. The meeting was a follow up to the conference of the same name held at Yale University in September of 2013.

The Transnational Institute at Voedsel Anders

TNI was there, when Wageningen University witnessed the dynamism of the modern food movement, at a two day conference that shared views on farming, research, advocacy and activism, and a commitment to transforming our food and agriculture systems

No fracking way

A briefing that explores how a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the US and the EU could open the way to multi-billion euro lawsuits from companies wanting to expand “fracking” for shale gas and oil.