Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla, Joseph Purugganan
24 May 2016
Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of investor-state dispute mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of USD 53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has a web of investment treaties which severely constrain the government's ability to regulate or close polluting mines. This legal straitjacket will become even tighter if the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proceed.
Countries around the world have reached a critical moment in the fight against climate change. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets demanding climate action, more than 190 countries reached a climate agreement in Paris, and renewable energy became more affordable and accessible to communities across the globe. Meanwhile, in sharp contradiction to that, countries negotiated new trade deals that would empower fossil fuel corporations to undermine the exact climate and conservation policies that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.
Climate change action demands moving to an energy system based on renewables and leaving fossil fuels in the ground. International investment agreements, and particularly ISDS, stand in the way of energy transition. They limit the ability of governments to set the terms of their energy policy, including the support of renewable energy. Investment agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will further empower corporations to challenge strong government action on climate change