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

Licensed to Grab

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause present in many treaties give investors far-reaching protection, curtailing governments’ ability to regulate for progressive agrarian and agricultural policies. As a consequence the notion of land as a commodity is reinforced, hindering achievement of democratic land access and control and the reversal of abusive land deals.

Gambling on Hunger and Climate Change

Financial speculation has not just rewarded bankers; it has played a major role in fuelling hunger, land dispossession and climate change. Yet the financial sector innovates false financial ‘solutions’ to the very problems it creates.

Protecting Profits over People

Myanmar is in the process of formulating an investment law and a land use policy that when combined will lay the foundations of development for the country. As it stands, these proposed instruments could have an adverse impact on human rights, and in particular land rights.

Beyond the BRICS' Rhetoric: An Inquiry on South-South Land grabbing

BRICS countries’ investors play an increasingly crucial role in land investments. Just as the global trend of increased interest and investment in land has led to a surge of land grabbing, BRICS investments have proved no different.