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

Reclaiming Free Prior and Informed Consent

The jury is still out on Free Pior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Will it ‘help’ or ‘hurt’ the cause of agrarian justice? The dilemmas and challenges of using FPIC are already surfacing and warrant closer attention – precisely because of what is at stake: what development, for whom and what purposes, how and where, and with what implications?

The Politics of Flex crops and Commodities

Flex crops are crops that can be used for food, feed, fuel or industrial material. Their emergence as critical global commodities is integral to understanding today's agroindustrial economy. 

Flex trees

Flex trees seem to offer timely opportunities for socio-environmentally sustainable solutions, but also present dangers, particularly if such changes accelerate the concentration of land and plantation-based development, whereby forests compete with and may replace food production.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

Global corporations are increasingly influencing development policy, resulting in partnership agreements like the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security that grow corporate profits while endangering the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.