Don’t Let Environmentalists Set Trade Policy Agenda

See my response to this week’s question for National Journal’s Energy Insiders:

Energy Insiders Weekly Question:

Environmentalists are fuming over Obama’s trade deal.

A slate of green groups say that the pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership could undermine key environmental safeguards, lead to increased natural gas exports, and boost fracking and coal.

The White House counters, saying the deal contains extensive conservation protections that would curb illegal fishing, logging, and wildlife-trafficking and defending the deal as good for the economy overall.

How would Obama’s trade deal impact energy and the environment? What are the potential risks and rewards of the deal, and what is the chance that it could reshape energy and environmental policy at home and abroad?

Margo Thorning response: 

It is unfortunate that environmentalists are shooting their own agenda in the foot through opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

International trade is a critical ingredient to economic growth. See more in ACCF’s recent op-ed in The Hill (…. Research also shows that in the long run, as countries prosper, their environment improves as they look forward to cleaner, more efficient forms of technology and energy.

One example of this is the broadened global use of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Through expanded trade and expediting the U.S. permitting process, LNG can be exported to non-FTA countries. This would help many developing nations, like China and India, that are leading the world in carbon emissions substitute natural gas for coal and reduce the growth of global GHGs. See ACCF Special Report report on environmental impacts of U.S. LNG exports at…

The breakthrough on trade policy between the White House and congressional Republicans is a rare, but welcome, example of bipartisanship. The economic and environmental benefits shouldn’t be sidelined by the green agenda.

Margo Thorning

Dr. Margo Thorning has frequently testified as an expert witness on capital formation, tax, energy and environmental policies before multiple U.S. congressional committees. She has also traveled coast to coast to present findings to state and local lawmakers, business organizations and the media on the economic impact of climate change policies on local job and economic growth.

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