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US Bans Mention of Climate Crisis in Trade Talks with UK

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An analysis of leaked documents has shown that the US has banned any mention of the climate crisis when discussing trade deals with the UK.

The UK has said that there will be pressure to meet climate commitments when arranging a trade deal with the US, but the 451-page dossier leaked in November reveals that Trump’s government has told the UK that climate issues cannot be brought up in discussions.

Global Justice Now is the NGO that first highlighted the dossier’s existence. Director of Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden, said: “The fact that the US has banned even the mention of climate change says it all”, adding: “Trump is a climate [change] denier, and any US deal is going to make it much harder for Britain to meet its already tepid commitments”.

Dearden also said that the US refusing to engage on the topic would lead to trade deals that are worse for the environment: “In a US-UK deal, US negotiators have been clear that they’re not remotely interested in even listening to discussion of climate change. Either we allow policies which will further devastate the environment, or the deal is dead”.

The dossier was highlighted by Labour during their election campaign with Jeremy Corbyn using the leak to show that the NHS was ‘on the table’ in talks with the US. Environmentalists are now pointing out that the documents also show how much the UK will have to yield to the US on the climate crisis issue.

One particular memo in the dossier reads: “UK inquired about the possibility of including reference to climate change in a future UK-US trade agreement given that the UK has a strong historical stance on climate change and pushed strongly for the Paris agreement. UK also highlighted the pressure for this that would come from civil society and NGOs. US responded emphatically that climate change is the most political [sensitive] question for the US, stating it is a ‘lightning rod issue’, mentioning that as of 2015, USTR [US trade representatives] are bound by Congress not to include mention of greenhouse gas emission reductions in trade agreements. US stated this ban would not be lifted anytime soon”.

Dr Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace, said: “If ‘climate change’ are taboo words for Trump’s negotiators, that’s just a hint of the crushing pressure our environmental standards will come under in any trade deal with the US. For US industrial lobbies, this deal is the long-awaited chance to get rid of the rules banning things like chlorinated chicken and hormone-grown beef from our shelves, while leaving our climate and energy policies at the mercy of trade disputes”.

A Department for International Trade spokesperson said that the department would not comment on leaks: “We will publish our own negotiating objectives for a future trade agreement with the US in due course. The UK leads the world in tackling climate change, as the first major economy to pass new laws for net-zero emissions by 2050. The prime minister has set out his vision to ensure Britain has the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth”.

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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