Corporate Saviours

Written By: - Date published: 12:37 pm, February 12th, 2016 - 66 comments
Categories: climate change, community democracy, democratic participation, global warming, Globalisation, political alternatives, Revolution, science, socialism, sustainability, vision - Tags: , , , , , ,

Now that the TPP has been signed, all we need do is sit back and await its ratification alongside that of the TTIP in the northern hemisphere. Combined, these agreements will give corporations the heft they require to ensure that governments do the right thing by their citizenry.

In the future, when a government drags its heels on legislating in line with what is required as far as climate change obligations are concerned, corporations can threaten them with the prospect of an immense fine through ISDS mechanisms because, erm…not doing anything about climate change will have a negative impact on possible future profits. That’ll be their case. And it should be enough to bring governments into line and ensure that they do they right thing.

So, forget all the nonsense you may have heard about corporations drilling for fossil fuel deposits in the Arctic or extracting fossil fuels from shale deposits in Canada. Those things are just details in a deft and cunning game plan that corporations have to save the world.

Or then again…

Governments have been head-wanking over climate change since about 1990 and done nothing. Happily for them, if they are a signatory to either the TTP or TTIP (if those deals are ratified) then they will be more or less disempowered on the climate change front. If they do seek to enact legislation, then they’ll probably find themselves on the wrong end of a compensation claim for future lost profits.

Governments are essentially entrenching the status quo even though climate science has already informed us that huge social change was/is needed if there was/is to be even a slim chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. Our governments freely chose to make grand statements and do nothing about climate change on the basis that non-existent technology would be tested, found to work and rolled out on a massive scale at some point in the future. (The Paris Accord)

We’re going to over-shoot 2 degrees. That’s what we’re on track for and nothing is being done to alter that. So who’ll be to blame? I mean, holding someone to account won’t fix things, but still…

Well, governments are wriggling off the hook. All they will need to do in a world of TTIP and TPP is point to the restrictive environment they were required to legislate within. Y’know, they’d have done something if they could have… (honest).

And corporations have an ideological perspective that claims they only respond to market signals and consumer demands in a world of perfect economic neutrality (so they can’t possibly be to blame).

The only alternative to forlornly seeking out someone or something to blame in some knackered future is to be the social change that scientific evidence is both demanding of us and informing us about. And the simple, short version of getting your head around that is to acknowledge that society has sat between two masters these past hundred years or so. On the one hand there has been the state and on the other there has been the market. Both have failed us repeatedly and miserably. The only thing to be done then, is to end society’s relationship with both the state and the market and for us as a society to take direct, democratic control over all of our needs: socialism.

66 comments on “Corporate Saviours ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “So who’ll be to blame? I mean, holding someone to account won’t fix things, but still…”

    Blame the public. The governments of the world reflect what their populations want.

    Actually avoiding a 2C increase in temperatures requires a lower standard of living than what people currently enjoy. It’s a tough sell, that’s why it hasn’t been bought.

    The Greens like to pretend we can have a “smart green economy” where we enjoy the same or increasing standards of living, but don’t harm the environment. But even their “smart green economy” isn’t sustainable or carbon-negative.

    • adam 1.1

      “Blame the public. The governments of the world reflect what their populations want.”

      I call b.s on that statement.

    • savenz 1.2

      Minus 100 Lanthanide

    • maui 1.3

      Yep, the Greens regularly in government from the 90s onwards would have allowed a smoother transition for a global economy with limited money and resources. Instead we’ve entered into economic crash and burn territory with no survival/emergency kit to hand. Its true that a lot of people want their financial needs met first and foremost, and that individual greed has meant we’ve got the problems of a greedy government and an unhealthy climate.

  2. Galeandra 2

    Lanth,I disagree. Questioned, people I speak with recognise the need to live at a lower consumption level and I believe that would be true of the wider community. In the same way, when questioned about taxes a clear majority of NZers expressed themselves willing to pay more tax in order to achieve social goals.

    • Gareth 2.1

      It is not enough to express willingness to pay more tax to achieve social goals.

      They must make their will manifest by casting their votes towards parties who will do this.

      Instead the clear majority either don’t vote, or vote for a party that clearly has no intention of doing this.

      I think your belief that there is a clear majority who recognise the need to live at a lower consumption level is incorrect.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        So, you place faith in the state, in spite of states failing us and, in this case, dodging any accountability by passing the buck to un-elected corporate tribunals that have huge vested interests in keeping things as they are? – sheesh

        Well, let’s go with a state solution. On lower living standards and tax – it’s a case (initially) of a small percentage changing habits. That’s tax free. The ‘drop in consumption’ is no biggie.

        There might be no endless upgrades of electronic junk to rush out and buy? The horror

        Or as the trickle down of changed habits occurs, the holiday abroad most people don’t currently have anyway would hardly be an onerous imposition on the bulk of people.

        Thing is, a careening market economy and action on climate change are incompatible. If that’s the case, then why turn to the state for potential solutions when the state becomes obsolete without a market economy to foist, manage or command?

        edit – sorry, heavily edited as I initially mis-read the comment above

        • pat 2.1.1.1

          understand your reasoning but the “state” has to take the lead in changing society in this instance…waiting for a grass roots organization to garner enough support and implement (partial) personal change will take too long and cannot force some of the fundamental changes required……people still need to participate in the existing set up even if they object to it….having said that I won’t hold my breath expecting “the state” to do anything meaningful

    • Mike S 2.2

      The majority of NZers don’t need to pay more tax. The government just needs to force corporations and a small number of individuals to pay their fare share instead of avoiding their tax requirements through clever accounting. The government also needs to close down all loopholes in tax legislation. Some changes in tax statutes wouldn’t go amiss either, currently, salary and wage earners are disadvantaged under our tax rules compared to the self employed and corporations.

  3. pete 3

    Yes but you are talking of the wealthy developed countries in terms of lower standard of living being accepted by the majority.

    What about the huge contributions to greenhouse gases by the developing countries, like India, Brazil and China? Unless these countries actually take meaningful action, any action taken by the west is meaningless.

    Do you seriously believe that China will take meaningful action, or even tell the truth about what it is doing? If it did, there would be a revolution there.

    And are you asking the poor of India or Brazil to take a cut of their already marginal living standards?

    Are you personally willing to cease Internet and cell use age, which is also a growing contributor to climate change?

    http://www.smart2020.org/_assets/files/02_Smart2020Report.pdf

    • Molly 3.1

      “Unless these countries actually take meaningful action, any action taken by the west is meaningless.”

      I personally, am heartily sick of this statement – or anything along these lines.

      The people of the west are in the optimal position to try alternative methods of living without dire hardship than anyone in developing countries. We still have access to reasonably robust health systems, clean water and food production.

      They can by trial and error and innovation create connective systems for food, work and community that not only reduce fossil fuel usage, but recognise the sustainable indigenous practices of many of those third world countries.

      The west deliberately making this choice also reduces the pressure on developing countries to follow our failed economic and environmental practices in the hopes of “catching up”.

      • pete 3.1.1

        Yes we CAN bit if we do it alone, then it is no more than pretense.

        And i say again, are you personally prepared to make a sacrifice? If so, why are you willingly and knowingly contributing to the problem by being on the Web? Do you have a cell phone? Drive a car? Buy imported goods? Travel overseas for recreation?

        Unless your can answer no to all of those types of things, then you are part of the climate change problem.

        It’s just a cop out to blame corporations. The corporates are driven by what consumers demand.

        • Molly 3.1.1.1

          Societal change happens when there is a shift in what a large number of people think are “good” choices.

          Also, heartily dismissive of the following type of question – which doesn’t allow people to try out new behaviours and choices unless they can achieve someone else’s version of sainthood in the first instance. Busy pointing out supposed hypocrisy in others is a tried and true method of avoiding looking at oneself.

          “And i say again, are you personally prepared to make a sacrifice? If so, why are you willingly and knowingly contributing to the problem by being on the Web? Do you have a cell phone? Drive a car? Buy imported goods? Travel overseas for recreation? “

          Already do.

          On the web, because it is our primary resource for education, community service and entertainment. We avoid daily trips to school, community service etc. It also provides connection with others trying out new ways of living.

          Don’t purchase cell phones, or use the one I have very often. Given to me after the screen cracked and it was upgraded by previous owner. Use it sparingly, often only in the car in case I break down.

          Recently replaced our kaput car – needed a seven seater to cater to the students living with us. Spent $10,000 on a hybrid in a strained budget instead of $5,000 in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Avoid unnecessary trips.

          Buy secondhand mostly.

          Travel overseas for recreation? What do you think?

          • pete 3.1.1.1.1

            Ok molly, I am convinced. You are putting your money where your mouth is and I certainly respect that.

            But so many don’t, and expect the sacrifices to be made by others. It always amuses me , for example, when I see a Greenpeace sticker or Stop Climate Change sticker attached to some old smokey car. The hypocrisy of many is staggering.

            • Molly 3.1.1.1.1.1

              The current system, media narrative and obvious choices that are freely available continue the idea of perpetual growth.

              The choices we have made are personally painful in terms of finances, and consequently we live precariously from one pay to the next. And still, we have to compromise in terms of our values. But we try to practice – as much as possible – what Anita Roddick referred to as “vigilante consumers”.

              In terms of education, I now have children that are well versed in the aspects of climate change and political awareness, but that very knowledge puts them out of step with most of their peers. The cost for them is having an alternate view, the benefit for them is – having an alternate view.

              I don’t view others choices as hypocrisy. Learned habits and ways of living take time to change. At least when people start discussing these issues, the basis for change is being laid down. When enough innovators lead the way, their circle of influence gets greater and greater.

              Eventually society and political will will set up governance systems that make choosing the best option – the easiest – and the least costly.

              • pete

                Hi molly. Personally I think compromising in terms of one’s values is a fantastic strength. Who of us is ever always right? Noone. Not you or me or anyone else.

                But as I said, I highly respect people like you or rod Donald, who do their best to live by what they believe. I suspect I would never see eye to eye with you about politics, economy and so on. But, for me, the true value is to live by what you believe, subject to the constraints of reality and to compromise to respect the will of others. Again subject to reality..

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  …and that’s how you get to pretend zero personal responsibility for the fruits of facile sophistry.

                  • pete

                    How about YOU take personal responsibility and stop contributing to global warming by constant use of the Internet? Oh that’s right. Sacrifices are only to be made by others.

                    Or are you totally ignorant of the part Internet use contributes to global warming?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      How would you know?

                      the internet is likely to be crucial to any move to a low-carbon world. Without its capacity to carry the huge flows of energy data, there could be no “smart grid”, for example, and without online video conferencing it would be much harder to reduce the number of business flights in coming years.

                      When your carbon footprint has been as low as mine has for more than three decades, you’ll still be a massive hypocrite with zero personal responsibility, Pete.

                      Have you got another straw to clutch at? Clutch at it, clutch at it.

                • Molly

                  ” I suspect I would never see eye to eye with you about politics, economy and so on. “

                  Personally I think compromising in terms of one’s values is a fantastic strength.

                  I agree on the not seeing eye-to-eye, because I find the compromising of my values to be painful. But that could be a non-alignment of definition. My values are not the same as my goals, they are an integral part of who I am – not what I have or what I want.

                  ” But, for me, the true value is to live by what you believe, subject to the constraints of reality and to compromise to respect the will of others. Again subject to reality..”
                  This is fluff to me. I’m already in the real world, and I acknowledge the “equality” of others. But I don’t respect the “will” of those who choose destructive actions. That doesn’t require respect, it calls for criticism (and possibly action).

            • rhinocrates 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Better an old car than a new one. The energy and resource cost of mining, smelting etc and manufacturing a new hybrid wipes out any gains from its supposed efficiency, especially when their owners replace them every couple of years.

              • Colonial Viper

                exactly…so few greenies consider the issue of sunk carbon cost.

                Also last I heard electric cars still use tyres requiring loads of fossil fuels to fabricate.

                • Andre

                  The bigger problem with car tyres is the amount of natural rubber they still use. Which creates massive monoculture rubber tree plantations. One of the recent National Geographics has a good article on it.

                  Personally I’d probably be happier if car tyres were entirely synthetic rubber, those holes in the ground for oil are probably less damaging than the rubber plantations.

        • Bill 3.1.1.2

          Pete, you say.

          The corporates are driven by what consumers demand

          And Lanth says.

          The governments of the world reflect what their populations want.

          So between the two of you, I guess you identify central points of the post quite well…how neither government nor corporate will bear any responsibility and how they reflexively and always sheet it back to us, even though they’d prefer that we have no real say in what goes on. (Best left to our betters etc)

          Wonder if either of you can contemplate the logical next step beyond the tendency you’ve both identified?

        • Puddleglum 3.1.1.3

          Hi pete,

          Where does ‘demand’ originate?

          (i.e., why do people come to have the ‘expressed preferences’ – buying behaviour – that they individually manifest?)

          Personally, I don’t think it’s about ‘blaming’ corporations (as if they were persons, which they aren’t). It’s about pointing out that the logic upon which corporations are structured – and upon which they act as mechanisms for rewarding certain kinds of behaviours by persons both within and beyond them – is unlikely to result in the prevention of processes like major climate change.

          Corporations are bits of socially constructed technology that can be used – and generally are used today – to amass wealth (‘capital’). (As I understand it, originally they were chartered for specific reasons to serve specific public goods – but that is ancient history.)

          Like any machines, there’s little point in ‘blaming’ them but there’s plenty of point in socially (politically) redesigning them, re-deploying them in very different environments (e.g., not in markets) or, ultimately, scrapping them if they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

          Its clear that the possibility of these options require there to be a ‘logic’ that takes priority over the logic of the corporation.

          Bluntly, agreements like the TPP make the prioritisation of some such other ‘logic’ that much harder.

          • Mike S 3.1.1.3.1

            “.. I don’t think it’s about ‘blaming’ corporations (as if they were persons, which they aren’t)”

            In fact legally, corporations are persons and have all of the legal rights of human beings, without the moral and ethical considerations that a human being has to worry about.

        • Mike S 3.1.1.4

          So is it the case that you believe that in order to avoid catastrophic human made global warming people will have to give up the internet, cell phones, cars, imported goods, travel, etc?

          Good luck with that.

        • Mike S 3.1.1.5

          “The corporates are driven by what consumers demand.”

          Only in your textbooks Pete.

          Corporations are driven by profit and profit alone. They couldn’t care less what consumers demand, unless they can see a profit in it.

          Corporations, instead of listening to what consumers demand, instead develop products and then create demand for these products that we don’t need through many types of very clever marketing, advertising and public relations (propaganda).

    • Bill 3.2

      So lets knock this bullshit line on the head, will we?

      A very small percentage of people are responsible for a very large percentage of emissions – by Pareto’s Rule about a 5:50 ratio (give or take).

      That – hell, lets stretch it out to ~10% – is more or less aligns with the richest 10% or so.

      In other words, to make a serious initial dent in emissions, all that’s required is a change in the habits of a fairly small percentage of the population.

      No more flying over-seas or up and down the country at ‘the drop of a hat’ for business meetings, academic seminars or holidays. No more cruising of the Med or the Bahamas in the private launch or hop-scotching around the show in the private plane/helicopter.

      And sure, over time, no-one should be flying, driving or boating just for the sheer pleasure of it.

      And yes, there should be strictly enforced energy efficiency standards on all household appliances and on all combustion engines etc.

      And the energy hungry production of useless consumer goods, with all the attendant bullshit of crap jobs and that’s done solely for profit, needs to be ended. Same for energy guzzling service industries that have no real purpose bar profit generation.

      Neither state nor corporate centres of power will aid or abet that necessity. Both will insist (as they do) that economic activity under the aegis of market conditions continue. And that means CO2 accumulating at increasing rates.

      • pete 3.2.1

        If consumers stop demanding then corporates will stop supplying. And governments, they mostly are just Weather men.

        And a small.minority? Really? Have you ever travelled around China and actually seen the filth pumping into the air everywhere you go? Not just the big cities like Beijing, but Dalian, Jinan, Guangzhou. Everywhere, even the remote provinces and seemingly barren wastelands.

        • Bill 3.2.1.1

          Yes pete. A small minority.

          Who do you think buys most of the stuff being produced in the filth spewing industrial complexes in China? Hint – not many landless Filipinos or Brazilian peasants on the final delivery destination dockets.

          And where do you think all those filth slewing industrial units came from in the first place – off-shored production from the ‘mighty west’ that dumped its carbon emissions along with its production capabilities.

          How many years has a large boycott of Nestle been in existence and do they or do they not still produce milk powder and tout it in places where there is no safe drinking water supply?

          Do consumers demand petrol vehicles over non-petrol vehicles, or do we simply use what’s been put on offer? Did any consumer or citizen have any say in the running down of public transport and the introduction of individual transport options?

          Did the Swedish company Vattenfall just stop supplying German consumers with nuclear generated electricity when their government took the democratically mandated decision (as far as a state decision can be) to end Germany’s nuclear programme?

          Please engage brain before spouting free market catchisms. Thankyou.

          • pete 3.2.1.1.1

            Thank you bill for an extremely good reply. I don’t have time at moment to address each point, but!

            Nuclear energy would have to be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly energy production processes available. China itself recognises this, and is in the process of increased from 2% to 6% the portion of its energy that is produced by this means. Great news for climate change.

            And as I said, acting on climate change is not just a government or corporate thing. Everyone has huge personal potential to force change just by the choices they make.

            But despite how it may read, I am broadly in agreement with you, just am disgusted by the sheer hypocrisy of many people regarding their expectation that it’s all about others making sacrifices and who are not prepared to make a personal contribution. As such, I am in awe of the commitment of the likes of molly above.

            • Matthew Whitehead 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Nuclear energy is largely produced where it’s sponsored by the government. It may be made more economical by efforts to dis-externalize the costs of climate change, however it’s actually not very cheap, it relies on diminishing fuel the same way fossil fuel power plants do, and it relies on mining to produce power, which is very environmentally destructive, even if arguably it’s efficient in reducing CO2 emissions. That’s not even counting the fact that existing nuclear plants were largely constructed when liability for their risks was externalised. Nowadays as the plant owner generally faces liability for any health concerns or disasters, they’re an incredibly risky proposition.

              But really, the economics of nuclear power are irrelevant, because there is enough renewable electricity to be had in every single country to go carbon-free. Why bother going nuclear, which has very large capital investment required and will eventually run out of fuel, when you can go renewable instead?

    • left for deadshark 3.3

      think of the CFC debate, in the ninety’s, The globule society will need too share the tec.
      fuck the copy right.

    • Lloyd 3.4

      If you check you will find that the Chinese are making huge changes in their electrical generation and are building wind turbines as fast as they can go.

      With the condition of the atmosphere literally in their lungs, the Chinese people would be undertaking a revolution now, if there was not clear evidence that the government was doing something significant to drop air pollution, and that includes greenhouse gas emissions.

      I expect that in a few years the Chinese will be used as the example of what the west should have done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  4. Sp OliviaRichard Christie 4

    It would be interesting if governments could sue the corporations for costs, future losses and potential losses and costs caused by rogue corporate activity.

    There are real costs to environmental and social damage, invatiably picked up by the taxpayer.

    It appears the right to sue and compensation only runs one way. If it ran both ways the TPP might be a good thing.

  5. Smilin 5

    The problem is we have to actually do something about all the factors that we allow to affect the climate
    If we dont we are doomed so the Keyites and all the other side steppers need to be done out of a fuckin job and the power to stop good people from what needs to be done

  6. vto 6

    It will be interesting to see a corporate sue the government for future losses when it legislates for environmental improvement from the status quo.

    How could there be future losses in this circumstance? If laws for environmental improvement are not passed then the world comes to an end …..

    ….. therefore losses only arise with the status quo law

    ….. and profits only arise with said improved environment laws.

    It follows then that governments need to recover future profits from said corporate when laws are changed to benefit the environment

    There aint no losses with legislating for environmental improvement

  7. Tautoko Mangō Mata 7

    TPP Please watch this short video- the first of 4 which can be accessed by the link below.
    There is a lot that JK is not telling us about the TPP and sovereignty.

    http://video.thenewamerican.com/usnews/video/bill-jasper-christian-gomez-examination-tpp-pt-1

    • ianmac 7.1

      Yes TMM. And to think that they dealt with just a small part of TPP. Watched parts 1,2,3,4. No wonder it is so hard to vocalise positions on TPP. Too big!
      Noted the fact that TPP will be a dynamic changing agreement rather than closed as Key et el others claim.
      The members will “harmonise” their systems. This means those who have Public Health systems like in NZ will have to “harmonise” with those who run on Private health systems. Ouch!
      The TPP will have a Commission who sit and decide what is good for all member countries.
      The 5588 pages dumped on us are probably to muddy our waters.

      • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 7.1.1

        Senator Elizabeth Warren simply and clearly presents why the TPP is not a good agreement here.

        • And that’s just the problems with IS:DS provisions. There are also issues with the copyright terms negotiated under the deal, (which basically forces signatories to implement that hated piece of US legislation, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, that among other things makes it a crime to circumvent copyright protections, even if you are doing so for a legal purpose, in addition to robbing the commons of intellectual property by hugely extending copyright lengths) the increased costs to the government for medicines, (which even the government admits are going to happen, as they were forced to promise to cover the costs themselves rather than pass them onto consumers, which is of course rubbish because they’ll either have to tax you more or spend less on useful projects in order to bear these increased costs) and of course the fact that it’s a “free trade” deal that gives a bunch of extra rights to large corporations and doesn’t actually free up trade very much- which can be seen quite clearly in the carve-outs for agriculture.

    • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster) 7.2

      My God, this TPPA is TOXIC!
      Although the two commentators have an American point of view, and concerns for the ‘disappearance’ of the American way of life, to a small player in the South Pacific, the TPPA means little less than our complete integration into the American system.
      These discussions, about aspects of the TPPA which have received little attention, should be compulsory viewing for all politicians (and voters!)

  8. savenz 8

    Instead of increasing, trade between the United States and Colombia dropped 19% following the implementation of a controversial free trade agreement between the two countries, the US confirmed.

    http://colombiareports.com/us-confirms-drop-in-trade-with-colombia-following-free-trade-deal/

  9. pat 9

    “However, his plea is unlikely to move Cameron who has said fracking is important for energy security and economic growth. His government has aggressively promoted the nascent shale industry and was shown last week to be considering changing rules to take fracking planning applications out of local authorities’ hands.”

    familiar tactics yet again

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/08/mark-ruffalo-tells-cameron-his-uk-fracking-push-is-an-enormous-mistake

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/01/uk-ministers-make-it-top-priority-to-ensure-nature-laws-do-not-hamper-fracking

  10. Ad 10

    OIl and coal prices have crashed so hard that they are extremely attractive.

    Flying and driving, and coal-fired electricity, have now become far more attractive. This is hardly the ‘fault’ of a population elite.

    The changes required in major countries are so large that they require weak democracy and massively strong government. China, not the US or Australia or Canada or India, is the global leader in energy transformation.

    I don’t think what you want to happen will happen. And it’s not because of the corporations or the 1%.

    • Bill 10.1

      Flying, driving etc (the monetary cost of) is a direct result of market economics. And market economies are notorious for sending false price signals. So yes, I agree that’s not the fault of any elite per se, although most public and private institutions exist to protect and enhance the position and world view of elites to differing degrees in one way or another.

      I disagree with your second contention (obviously!). The major changes require an explosion of democracy. That requires the abolition of anti-democratic road-blocks such as state governance (ie – nation states) and markets (ie – market economies). In the absence of that (I’d say) necessary move, then yes, the command economy of an overtly authoritarian state can execute larger faster changes than a covertly authoritarian one managing or facilitating a market economy.

      I then agree that what I believe needs to happen, won’t happen. The reason for that is because we are apparently happy enough to live within very limiting political and economic frameworks. We’re fucked.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Wild variations in oil prices not the fault of the elite and the financial machinery of the elite?

        Or perhaps it is all their fault.

        1) Driving income away from the bottom 90% of the worlds population so the top few % can accumulate much more. This drives down real consumption.

        2) Multi-billion dollar financing of shale oil and tar sand plays which were never going to be profitable but end up dumping excess production on to the market.

        3) The use of commodity prices and commodity price manipulation as financial weapons of mass destruction against regimes that the west does not like: Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and others.

        4) The 1% and especially the 0.1% being increasingly isolated from the negative consequences of their actions on the rest of the world, meaning that they are not getting corrective feedback that they need to change.

        And yes I agree with you Bill, we’re all pretty fucked. This system is set to destroy itself and we are all geared up to keep the system running faster and faster with all kinds of pretend and extend measures until it does so.

      • Ad 10.1.2

        Even though it’s generally getting weaker, there’s not much replacement in sight for the nation-state. I’m still partial to strong states, mostly because I still believe in the idea of policy.

        Environmental inequality doesn’t always affect the same people as those affected by asset or income deprivation. They don’t always intersect. Their effects are ‘unfairly distributed’.

        New Zealand, among others, has astonishing natural assets, yet lots of rural poverty. I still think it’s one of the best positioned countries in the world to deal both with the effects of climate change and of income and asset deprivation. It’s been done before and it can be done again.

        Most of its businesses are not corporations – they are tiny and flexible.
        Most of its remaining native forests will now be saved.
        Its local food-generation cultural movements are now broad-based and accelerating.
        etc.

        And this kind of government won’t last.

  11. Gosman 11

    Nothing in the TPPA precludes nations from legislating to meet international obligations to tackle climate change.

    • Andre 11.1

      Except the fear of losing an ISDS case.

      Kinda like why we haven’t introduced plain packaging for ciggies yet.

      • Gosman 11.1.1

        Do you know how the ISDS process will actually work? If so care to explain how this will impact on policies to tackle climate change in detail?

        • Bill 11.1.1.1

          Government brings in legislation that mandates for (say) given efficiency in terms of vehicle emissions. US car manufacturer lands an ISDS for loss of future profit that will occur due to various compliance costs.

          The government defends.

          The government chooses one arbitrator from the small pool available. The corporate choose one. The two chosen, pick a third.

          The three of them decide what evidence will be allowed and what arguments will be allowed.

          A decision is made with no necessary regard to domestic or international law.

          They find in favour of the government = costs of ~US$8 million payable by the government. (US$8 million being the average costs attached to a case).

          They find against the government. Costs of US$8million + whatever compensation the arbitrators determine.

          In either case the government can pass legislation. But every time it does it could cost a minimum of US$8 million per case landed off the back of any given piece of legislation. (In the example above, how many US and Japanese vehicle manufacturers might jump on the bandwagon? Maybe one initially and all piling in if the decision favours the ‘stalking horse’?)

          How many separate pieces of legislation you reckon might be passed if a government took climate change seriously?

          • Gosman 11.1.1.1.1

            You assume that the case will even be heard. If there is no jurisdiction due to the Government implementing policies pertaining to an international treaty on tackling climate change it is highly probable that there won’t even be a tribunal put together on it.

            • Bill 11.1.1.1.1.1

              ISDS hearings have no obligation to take anything apart from notions of ‘restriction to trade’, into account. They are not subject to any type of oversight. They decide their jurisdiction. Even on matters of tax, they decide whether the tax is an international norm or not, and therefore whether it’s restricting trade.

              The only restriction would be where a government refused to pay compensation – there is no formal enforcement mechanism.

            • Bill 11.1.1.1.1.2

              And there are no treaties relating to climate change – nothing enforcable anywhere; just a jumble of non-binding accords and such like…

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1.1.1.3

              treaties

              Thank you for illustrating my point so promptly

        • Gosman, they had to explicitly carve out that the IS:DS wouldn’t be used for pro-smoking cases because they’ve been so aggressive in abusing IS:DS provisions with them. (They haven’t always won, but they’ve been very good at winning small battles and intimidating countries that don’t want to go to court) There have also been issues with labour protection in Germany under its own IS:DS provisions in some trade deals that have caused governments to abandon health and safety laws.

          This trend extending to climate change is a matter of time, especially as regulating the rogue fossil fuel industries becomes increasingly popular.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2

      Says a recidivist liar with negative credibility.

      • Gosman 11.2.1

        You have evidence of my lying do you? Not simply something you disagree with but something you can show that I have deliberately stated a mistruth.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2.1.1

          A long-term pattern of dishonesty, false framing, weasel words, cant.

          ‘There is a reason your name marks a rule about hypocrisy.’

    • Macro 11.3

      lol!

  12. Instauration 12

    Oh – Allahu Akbar ?

    The ISDS concept has a 200 year colonial pedigree. Counterclaim escalation and splatter risks have an established balance and weight.

    The ISDS is nothing new. It is an antique mechanism to perpetuate control of conquest-able resources in “foreign lands”

    We must not engage with any further propositions that endorse ISDS.

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