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Trans-Pacific Partnership could undermine climate regulations, top economist warns

Trans-Pacific Partnership could undermine climate regulations, top economist warns

By on 28 Oct 2015 6:33 amcommentsShare

As a general rule, climate hawks are not jumping for joy over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new trade deal between the U.S. and some Asian and Pacific nations. On Tuesday, in an interview with Democracy Now!, Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz gave them another reason to worry: He argued that certain provisions in the TPP would allow polluters to sue governments for setting carbon emission limits.

“This is a trade agreement that has all kinds of provisions intended to restrict regulations,” Stiglitz told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman.

As an example of the absurdity of these types of provisions, Stiglitz cited Philip Morris suing Uruguay in 2010 under a different treaty. Uruguay had implemented a regulation that required tobacco companies to append health warnings to cigarette cartons  — similar to what we have in the United States — and Philip Morris sued the country for a loss in expected profits. “In other words,” Stiglitz said, “the view is, they have the right to kill people, and if you want to take away that right, you have to pay them not to kill.”

The Columbia University economist warned that the TPP could spur similar litigation over climate regulations. “We know we’re going to need regulations to restrict the emissions of carbon,” argued Stiglitz. “But under these provisions, corporations can sue the government, including the American government, by the way, so all the governments in the TPP can be sued for the loss of profits as a result of the regulations that restrict their ability to emit carbon emissions that lead to global warming.”

Writing for Project Syndicate earlier this month, Stiglitz explained that corporate interests argue these types of provisions are “necessary to protect property rights where the rule of law and credible courts are lacking.” But he calls that argument “nonsense,” especially in the case of regulations formulated to target industries whose “profits are made from causing public harm.”

Watch the Democracy Now! video:

Source:

Joseph Stiglitz: Under TPP, Polluters Could Sue U.S. For Setting Carbon Emissions Limits

, Democracy Now!.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership could undermine climate regulations, top economist warns

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Good News from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Mother Jones

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Everyone’s favorite CDC publication, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, passes along some great news today: cigarette smoking is down. Among Americans 18 and older, only 17.8 percent now smoke cigarettes, down from 20.9 percent in 2005. What’s more, the proportion of daily smokers declined from 16.9 percent to 13.7 percent, and among daily smokers the number of cigarettes smoked also declined. By region, the highest level of smoking is found in the Midwest, followed by the South, the Northeast, and the West. Poor people smoke more than non-poor, and generally speaking, those with less education smoke more than those with more education.

In case you’re unpersuaded by all this, I’ve appended a trivial chart on the right showing the overall prevalence of smoking. It’s down. Are you persuaded now?

In any case, you’re probably not surprised by this news. So here’s something a little more interesting: it turns out the prevalence of smoking is considerably higher among the gay population than the straight population (26 percent vs. 17 percent). Is this common knowledge? Maybe, but I didn’t know it, and I sure wouldn’t have guessed it. Of course, all the gay people I know are well-educated West Coast folks, who probably have a very low rate of smoking regardless of sexual orientation. So I suppose I’m just too cloistered to have any clue about this.

Link: 

Good News from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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