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To: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, Elizabeth May

Paris 2015: Do Not Let Investor-State Dispute Settlement Prevent Real Action on Climate Change

Paris 2015: Do Not Let Investor-State Dispute Settlement Prevent Real Action on Climate Change

Before sending a delegation to Paris this winter, we ask the Canadian Government to pursue provisions that would prevent Investor-State Disputer Settlements (ISDS) from preventing real action on climate change in Canada.

Why is this important?

The COP-21 Paris 2015 Climate Summit will be a critical moment for the leaders of the world to protect our collective home from irreversible climate change. Our new government gives hope that Canada can be a leader in these talks, but there is a real danger that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) challenges, such as those that have hampered Canada under NAFTA and other trade partnerships, could blunt the collective strength needed to enforce the necessary emission targets.

Opponents of real action on climate change argue such measures will have a short term negative impact on the economy. However, institutions such as the International Monetary fund and the White House and have stated that delaying or not taking action on the most pressing issue of our time is likely to have even more costly economic and health impacts [1,2].

Recently, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that would protect governmental measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) challenges. Much of this motion comes from the mind of a Canadian: professor Gus Van Harten of Toronto-based Osgoode Hall Law School, who authored the paper 'An ISDS Carve-Out to Support Action on Climate Change'.[3]

The resolution states that the European Parliament:
"Calls on the [European] Commission and the Member States to ensure that any measure adopted by a Party to the Paris Agreement relating to the objective of stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, or relating to any of the principles or commitments contained in Articles 3 and 4 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will not be subject to any existing or future treaty of a Party to the extent that it allows for investor-state dispute settlement."[4].

As the Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow states, "Corporations have used ISDS to challenge governments over 600 times, and in numerous cases these challenges are clearly related to health or environmental decisions by governments." ISDS provisions exist in the North American Free Trade Agreement and within the proposed Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and numerous other so-called ‘free trade’ agreements.
We, the signers of this petition, call upon the Canadian Government to implement a motion to not allow ISDS to prevent real action on climate change in Canada, in order for the COP-21 summit to have a meaningful impact and control human-caused climate change. We thank you for your leadership.
Footnote: Much of this petition was borrowed with gratitude from the blog of Brett Patterson of the Council of Canadians [2].

Reasons for signing

  • I signed this because investor state disputed settlements take democratically elected government out of vital decisions which effect our health, safety, democratic rights and life on Earth. I am not prepared to hand that kind of power and responsibility over to unaccountable profit generating businesses who have no concern for the planet beyond what they can extract from it.


2015-11-05 10:19:04 -0500

25 signatures reached

2015-11-04 17:35:36 -0500

10 signatures reached