Negotiations start for freer trade in environmental goods

Last week government representatives from 14 countries and groups, including the European Union, China, the US, and Canada agreed to launch negotiations to lower tariffs on environmental goods. The Office of the US Trade representative said that the group hopes to conclude an agreement under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization, but not necessarily engaging all WTO members, by January 2017.

Some critics have already said that the agreement may help sales of products which are not environmentally responsible. Clearly this depends on the definition of environmental goods that is used in the agreement. It is also important to note that, to date, tariffs have not been designed around environmental objectives. As the world moves towards freer trade, tariffs will likely be removed from all types of goods, Even if the definition of environmental goods is not perfect from an environmental perspective, an agreement which lowers tariffs on truly environmental goods as well as on some which are not so environmental may help encourage more environmental technology installations around the world.

A listing of environmental goods has already been prepared for Asia Pacific trade discussions, involving some of the same countries, and it is expected that this list will be a starting point, and maybe also the end point, for this new round of trade negotiations. The APEC negotiations have defined environmental goods generally as:

  • Bamboo flooring panels.
  • Steam or other vapour generating boilers (other than central heating hot water boilers capable also of producing low pressure steam) and their parts and auxiliary plant, including air pollution control equipment.
  • Renewable energy plant.
  • Turbines designed for the production of geothermal energy (renewable energy) and co-generation which allows for a more effective use of energy than conventional generation) .
  • Gas turbines of a power exceeding 5,000 kw.
  • Gas turbines for clean power generation including recovered landfill gas, coal mine vent gas, or biogas, or natural gas [the schedule uses the term ‛national gas’] and their parts.
  • Engine and motor parts.
  • Wind turbine blades, hubs, and parts.
  • Industrial or laboratory furnaces and ovens, including incinerators, non-electric.
  • Waste incinerators; incinerators for radioactive waste; and parts.
  • Flue gas treatment systems for incinerators.
  • Instantaneous or storage water heaters, non-electric (other than instantaneous gas water heaters).
  • Solar water heaters and parts.
  • Dryers, other: sludge driers.
  • Machinery for liquefying air or other gases, for separation and removal of pollutants through condensation.
  • Industrial machinery, plant or equipment for the treatment of materials, by process involving a change in temperature.
  • Machinery, plant or laboratory equipment – other machinery, plant and equipment: other.
  • Chlorine dioxide generators.
  • Evaporators and dryers, for water and waste water treatment. Condensers and cooling towers.
  • Biogas reactors; digestion tanks and biogas refinement equipment.
  • Anaerobic biogas reactors, digestion tanks and biogas refinement equipment. PV cell coaters. Includes fluidised bed systems (bubbling, circulating, etc.) and biomass boilers. Can also help anaerobic digestion of organic matter.
  • Filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for liquids: for filtering or purifying water.
  • Household filtering or purifying water machinery and equipment, device for the removal of heavy metal ions for industry uses; membrane bioreactor; high rate anaerobic reactors; reverse osmosis filters for industry uses; water purification machine; EDI ultra-pure water equipment.
  • Press filters; etching solution recycling equipment for printed circuit board; equipment for the recycling and treatment of reclaimed water; ion exchanger; complete sets of equipment for alkali recovery of black liquor; aerator; electrodialysis devices.
  • Refrigerant recovery and recycling units.
  • Filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for gases.
  • Baghoused dust collectors for industry uses; cyclone dust collectors for industry uses; other dust collectors for industry uses; flue gas desulfurization apparatus; spraying saturator; concentrated adsorption – catalytic combustion equipment; activated carbon fiber – granular activated carbon equipment.
  • Laminar flow units, catalytic converter and carbon dioxide removal unit imported to use at natural gas service station.
  • Physical, mechanical, chemical or electrostatic filters and purifiers for the removal of volatile organic compounds, solid or liquid particles in gases, etc.
  • Indoor hazardous gas purification equipment, especially for formaldehyde and benzene.
  • Centrifuges, including centrifugal dryers; filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus, for liquids or gases: parts (other than of centrifuges and centrifugal dryers): filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for water and parts thereof.
  • Parts of household filtering and purifying machines for gases.
  • Crushing or grinding machines.
  • Machinery for sorting, screening, separating, washing, crushing, grinding, mixing or kneading earth, stone, ores or other mineral substances, in solid (including powder or paste) form; machinery for agglomerating, shaping or moulding solid mineral fuels, ceramic paste, unhardened cements, plastering materials or other mineral products in powder or paste form; machines for forming foundry moulds of sand. Crushing or grinding machines, mixing or kneading machines, excluding concrete or mortar mixers.
  • Waste compactor machines. Used for solid waste treatment or recycling.
  • Mixing, kneading, crushing, grinding, screening, sifting, homogenizing, emulsifying or stirring machines.
  • Other machines & mechanical appliances, other than machines & mechanical appliances for treating metal, incl. Industrial catalysers, electric wire coil-winders/ mixing/ kneading/ crushing/ grinding/ screening/ sifting/ homogenising/ emulsifying/ stirring machines.
  • Air humidifiers or dehumidifiers; machines for squeezing radioactive waste; suction machine; mud scraper; sand suction machine; trash compactor; vacuum extruder for making hollow brick with gangue (waste from mineral ores) and fly ash. Very broadly, machines and appliances designed for a wide range of areas of environmental management, including waste, waste water, drinking water production and soil remediation.
  • AC generators (alternator), of an output exceeding 750 kva to be used with turbines and generators in combination to produce electricity from renewable energy fuels.
  • Wind-powered electric generating equipment.
  • Amorphous transformers.
  • Biogas generator sets.
  • Small hydro, ocean, geothermal and biomass gas turbine generating sets.
  • Combined heat and power systems produce usable power (usually electricity) and heat at the same time.
  • Electricity generation from renewable resources.
  • Parts for electrical transformers, static converters and inductors. Used to convert dc current from renewable energy generating sets into conventional ac electricity.
  • Industrial or laboratory electric furnaces and ovens (including those functioning by induction or dielectric loss); other industrial or laboratory equipment for the heat treatment of materials by induction or dielectric loss: resistance heated furnaces and ovens.
  • Photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light emitting diodes.
  • Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light emitting diodes; mounted piezo-electric crystals: photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light emitting diodes.
  • Water disinfection.
  • Surveying, hydrographic, oceanographic, hydrological, meteorological or geophysical instruments and appliances, excluding compasses.
  • Instruments for measuring or checking the flow, level, pressure or other variables of liquids or gases.
  • Air quality monitoring; automated air quality monitoring.
  • Instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking pressure.
  • Gas or smoke analysis apparatus.
  • Chromatographs and electrophoresis instruments.
  • Spectrometers, spectrophotometers and spectrographs using optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible, infrared).
  • DNA sequencers, polymerase chain reaction (pcr) systems.
  • Instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis.
  • Other instruments, appliances and machines.
  • Automatic regulating or controlling instruments.

For detailed definitions, including Harmonized System tariff codes and inclusions/exclusions, see

A press statement and the initial agreement among the fourteen is available at


Substance used in some cosmetics may affect coral

Research published in the peer-reviewed journal Ecotoxicology by a team from the United States, Israel, and Singapore indicates that the chemical substance Benzophenone-2 (2,2′,4,4′-Tetrahydroxybenzophenone) may be contributing to the bleaching (killing) of ocean corals. BP-2 is used in after-shaves and eau de Cologne products in the United States and is also used in sunscreens in some other countries. The researchers state that it is often released as a pollutant through municipal and boat/ship wastewater discharges and landfill leachates, as well as through residential septic fields and unmanaged cesspits.

A list of consumer products containing BP-2 provided by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services can be found at Consumer products in Canada and in other countries may have different formulations.

In the press release put out by the primary researcher, Dr. Craig Downs of the non-profit Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Clifford, Virginia, Joseph DiNardo, a former Vice President of Research & Development for Revlon-Almay Inc and a toxicologist who spent 37 years developing and safety-testing skincare products for several large cosmetic and pharmaceutical corporations, is quoted as stating “We have overpopulated our world not just with people, we have overpopulated our world with toxic substances—toxic substances we know nothing about. We need to know about the impact these chemicals have on our environment, and unfortunately, we don’t.” Dr. Michael Risk, a Professor Emeritus of coral reef biology and geology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, professed that, “This is more bad news for coral reefs, more evidence of the pervasive and pressing impacts of land-based sources of pollution. The results show that something humans use to protect their skin or toiletries can reach the sea from wastewater discharges, and shut down coral reproduction. In affected areas, the shutdown of larval (juvenile coral) survival means that there soon will be only a few ancient corals staggering on: and when some accident or storm or yacht takes them out, there will be no recovery.” The press release can be found at

Coldwater corals are found in ocean waters offshore of Canada. A 2009 report, Status Report on Coral and Sponge Conservation in Canada, provides details, though research on these organisms is sparse. The report can be found at The testing referenced in this article was conducted in a laboratory on the larval form of a common tropical and sub-tropical coral organism and was not conducted on coldwater coral organisms.

An abstract (free) and the full paper (fee or subscription required) entitled Toxicological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, benzophenone-2, on planulae and in vitro cells of the coral, Stylophora pistillata, can be found at

Canada 24th in world environmental ranking in 2014

During the World Environment Forum last week a group of researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities released the biennial Environmental Performance Index, an index of the environmental performance of countries based on nine key performance indicators. Canada achieved 24th place, behind the United Kingdom (12th), Portugal (17th), Ireland (19th), Italy (22nd), and Greece (23rd).  Canada was ahead of Japan (26th), France (27th) and the USA (33rd). The full list of rankings and details on the structure of the EPI are at Canada’s overall score has increased by 2.58% over the last 10 years. When looking at overall 10 year performance improvement Canada is in 110th place. All positions are out of 178, the number of countries included in the survey.

In the current report, Canada scored:

  • 1st in environmental health impacts, with a perfect score of 100
  • 20th in water resources, with a score of 80.42
  • 28th in air quality, with a score of 97.85
  • 28th in water and sanitation, with a score of 95.9
  • 41st in climate and energy, with a score of 59.85
  • 71st in fisheries, with a score of 21.54
  • 97th in biodiversity and habitat, with a score of 58.4
  • 104th in forests, with a score of 16.64
  • 105th in agriculture, with a score of 62.52

The research team provides detailed information on each of the indicators, the sub-indicators, and each countries ranking on each. For example, the agricultural environment indicator is based on agricultural subsidies and pesticide regulation. Canada ranks poorly on subsidies and is in the top group on pesticide regulation.

GallonDaily is not an enthusiast for this kind of environmental performance ranking, whether of companies, communities or governments. Environmental effects are way too complex to have meaningful impact when reduced to a single ranking. For example, the environmental health index in the EPI is based on a single indicator, young child mortality, the probability of death between a child’s first and fifth birthdays.  As stated above, Canada has been given a perfect score on this indicator but the indicator does not take into account such problems as premature death of older people that might be caused by a wide range of environmental factors. However, indices like the EPI can provide a limited amount of useful information and might sometimes motivate an organization to improve its environmental performance.

Also worth noting:

  • in 2001, Canada was ranked in 3rd place in the world
  • in 2002, Canada was ranked in 4th place in the world
  • in 2005, Canada was ranked in 6th place in the world
  • in 2006, Canada was ranked in 8th place in the world
  • in 2008, Canada was ranked in 12th place in the world
  • in 2010, Canada was ranked in 46th place in the world
  • in 2012, Canada was ranked in 37th place in the world

A more complete analysis of Canada’s positioning in the Environmental Performance Index will appear in a future edition of Gallon Environment Letter.

Not all science journals are equal

GallonDaily frequently provides information derived from articles published in scientific journals. Hence we have a concern about whether that information is derived from experiments and measurements that are conducted using appropriate science-based methods, whether it is properly peer-reviewed, and whether it is likely to be reproducible.

Such issues are also a concern for academic librarians. One, Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, has gone so far as to publish a list of what he considers to be questionable publishers. There are currently 243 publishers on Beall’s list and many of them publish multiple journal titles. Beall also publishes a list of individual journals that do not publish under the platform of any publisher and that he considers questionable.

Much of Beall’s concern is directed toward open access journals. Open access means that the journal provides access to its content – articles and reports – on its web site at no charge to users. Rather than the traditional model of charging for a subscription for the journal and, sometimes, a fee for access to a single article, open access publishers generally charge authors a fee to insert the article in the journal. Beall claims that many of the new open access publishers “are corrupt and exist only to make money off the author processing charges that are billed to authors upon acceptance of their scientific manuscripts.” He recommends “that researchers, scientists, and academics avoid doing business with these publishers and journals”.

Even reputable journal publishers can run into difficulties. In 2013 Copernicus Publications started the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics (PRP). By the end of the year, Copernicus found that the editors were using the journal to promulgate climate change denial, contrary to their agreement with Copernicus, and that “the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis”. The journal has now been terminated.

Copernicus Publications’ position on the journal Pattern Recognition in Physics can be found at

Jeffrey Beall’s list is at

GallonDaily’s position is that poorly-researched articles can be found in excellent journals and that well-researched articles can be found in weaker journals. Many researchers work extensively in a narrow area of research and therefore develop opinions that may or may not influence their research, positively or negatively. This is human nature. In an ideal world all research results would be replicated by a different researcher before being published but this is clearly not at all practical. GallonDaily and its sister publication Gallon Environment Letter seek to analyse the content of the research reports and the reputation of the researcher before publishing an article based on a research paper but it is frequently difficult within our short article format to provide the results of those analyses. We take every measure which we think is reasonable to ensure that our reports are accurate and based on quality research but there are substantial limits to reasonableness given our objective of getting useful information to our readers as promptly as possible. We invite readers to provide science-based comments should they have concerns about the scientific integrity of any of our articles.

Metals, as well as organic compounds, attach to marine plastics in minute quantities

Researchers at San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis, have found that metals, some of them toxic, accumulate to plastic debris in the ocean. However,  the research also leaves many questions needing further research.

This is the kind of research that may well find its way into anti-plastic arguments even though the results, while concerning, do not prove anything about the environmental or marine health impacts of toxic metals attached to plastic debris in the oceans.

The study found that, over a 12-month study period, concentrations of aluminum, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, zinc, cadmium and lead attached to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP) increased over time. PP attracted less of the metals than the other plastics. Cadmium, nickel, zinc and lead are listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency as priority pollutants (toxic substances).

The concentrations of the metals attached to the plastics were very low: aluminum and zinc about 10,000 parts per billion each, chromium about 100 ppb, manganese and iron about 100,000 ppb each, cobalt less than 100 ppb, nickel up to about 500 ppb, cadmium about 10 ppb, and lead about 1000 ppb. All of these metals occur in nature. The researchers claim that plastic debris may accumulate greater concentrations of metals the longer it remains at sea, but little substantiation was given for this opinion nor was information about the chemical form in which the metals may attach to the plastic provided. This is not meant as a criticism of the study which acknowledges in its full text that much remains to be learned about adsorption of metals to plastics. The study also acknowledges that for some of the metal and plastic combinations the concentration of metal is similar to that found in ocean sediments though iron, manganese and zinc were two orders of magnitude greater than the concentrations found on seawater particulates. The study does not directly address the environmental or marine health issues that may or may not be associated with its findings.

This is clearly an area of research worth pursuing. Metals may well be adsorbed on to the surface of plastics. This may be a problem or may not be a problem. This may happen with plastic used packaging for beverages as well as in the oceans. Maybe there are good applications for use of plastics to remove toxic metals from water. The fact is that this research leaves us with far more questions than it provides answers.

The research paper Long-Term Sorption of Metals Is Similar among Plastic Types: Implications for Plastic Debris in Aquatic Environments is available in the online peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE at

A Standard for Green Meetings

The US-based Convention Industry Council and ASTM have completed a set of standards for green meetings. This likely means that, sooner or later, an organization will be at risk in describing a  meeting, event, trade show, or conference as sustainable, or green, unless it complies, at least in a general way, with the new ASTM standards. All who are organizing an event which fits into one of these categories and who intend to make environmental claims for the event should familiarize themselves with the standards.

There are in fact nine standards included within the framework of the ASTM Standards for Green Meetings. They cover:

  • event location
  • set-up and dismantling of trade shows and exhibits
  • transportation, primarily the reduction of carbon emissions from transport-related activity
  • audio visual and production services
  • communications and marketing, including paper, printed materials, promotional items, signage, educational materials, surveys, exhibitor advertising leaflets, event guides, etc.
  • onsite offices
  • accommodation
  • food, beverage, and non-consumable food- or beverage-related items, including waste management, energy, and water related practices
  • selection of venue

Due to the broad scope of the standards it will likely be some time before many events qualify for certification. However, even incorporating some of the criteria will be an advance on some of the rather weak efforts to green meetings that GallonDaily typically sees today in Canada. To assist greening of meeting initiatives, the Green Meeting Industry Council has published a set of checklists (they give them the moniker Addendums) which make it easier to ensure that key aspects of the standards are considered by meeting organizers. There is also a set of verification submission forms that can be used by meeting organizers to benchmark their performance against the standards.

The Standards for Green Meetings are available from ASTM at The cost is $168 USD for a one year subscription.

The Addendums and the verification submission forms are available from GMIC at

A short description of the campaign to encourage adoption of the green meeting standards is available at

Indoor air quality in hairdressing salons

Cosmetics and personal care products escape much of the environmental  scrutiny given to other products, such as household cleaning products, in GallonDaily’s experience. Critics of such products are often accused of having anti-feminist motives. Hence our attention was immediately drawn to a recently published study of air quality in hair salons prepared by researchers in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Bari, Italy.

Not surprisingly, compounds widely used in products for hair care such as spray lacquer and foam (butane), shampoo, balms, hair masks and oils (camphene, camphor, limonene, eucalyptol, alpha pinene, 1-methoxy-2-propanol, n-butanol and menthol), and hair dye (benzyl alcohol, isopropanol, limonene, hexane and methyl ethyl ketone) were found at much higher levels inside rather than outside the salons. The authors report that the importance of this finding is linked to the potential health hazards of some of the VOCs detected. Some of the contaminants are carcinogenic, though the nature of these suggests that the primary carcinogenic contaminants found had entered the salon from outside and may be the result of passing traffic.

Five of the twelve salons sampled had especially high levels of hazardous contaminants. Of the 39 substances monitored, 13 were found at indoor air concentrations 20 or more times greater than in outdoor air. One salon had exceptionally high concentrations of some of the air pollutants. There was considerable variability between salons and based on time of day and customer traffic.

The study showed that work activities and the types of products used, whether ecological or traditional, are determinants of indoor pollution levels. The levels may impact customers and, more importantly, employees who are exposed to these substances throughout the work week. The authors state that there is a need to change work habits in hairdressing salons in order to improve air quality. The fact that some salons had few indoor air quality problems while others were quite highly polluted suggests that choice of products, operational considerations, and air circulation could contribute to improved air quality.

The report Indoor air quality in hair salons: Screening of volatile organic compounds and indicators based on health risk assessment is published in the peer-reviewed journal Atmospheric Chemistry and can be found at The brief abstract and access to figures is free; a fee or subscription is required for the complete paper.

Sludge from sewage treatment plants may help identify chemicals of concern

A new research report from the Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University suggests that sewage sludge may provide a useful tool for assessing human exposure and bioaccumulation of potentially hazardous substances. Contrary to comments that GallonDaily has heard for years from municipal officials, the research shows that sewage treatment plants do not provide a pathway for removal of many potentially toxic substances. In fact many toxic substances are absorbed on to the sewage sludge which may then be spread on farm fields from which location the chemicals find their way into the environment, often in considerable quantity.

The most abundant chemicals of emerging concern found in analysis of a sample of US sewage sludge were brominated flame retardants, surfactants (nonylphenol and its ethoxylates); antimicrobials triclosan and triclocarban; and antibiotics azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, and ofloxacin. The researchers were surprised by the presence of some of these, for example BFRs should only be used on products which are not likely to be flushed down the drain, and by the persistence of others. This last finding suggests that products which are biodegradable in water under laboratory conditions may not behave in the same way when discharged into sewers or flowed in aqueous solution through sewage treatment plants.

The authors suggest that

  • the present work explored the new approach of using biosolids as an analytical matrix to identify potentially harmful, mass-produced chemicals of human health concern.
  • chemicals sequestered in biosolids may serve as an early warning system for determining potential bioaccumulative chemicals and chemical body burdens in population.
  • screening of sewage sludge can serve to identify transformation products of man-made and natural compounds which likely are persistent and bioaccumulative but for which production and environmental loading data are unavailable.
  • the eight compounds falling into the “most abundant” category have to be considered priority contaminant candidates from a public health perspective, deserving scrutiny with respect to their potential for exposure, bioaccumulation and potential adverse health effects in biota, including humans.
  • an interesting correlation was found between chemicals that bioaccumulate in humans and those that persist during wastewater treatment and accumulate in sludge.
  • further work is needed to validate and carefully define the limits of the chemical prioritization approach presented in the paper.

The paper has been published in the Nature Publishing Group open access peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports and can be found at 

Time for disinvestment from high carbon assets, says UN climate chief

“Institutional investors who ignore the risk [of climate change] face being increasingly seen as blatantly in breach of their fiduciary duty to their beneficial owners – men and women who have worked hard all their lives to put away something for their retirement and for their children,” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change told attendees at the 2014 Investor Summit on Climate Risk at UN headquarters in New York this week.

In urging investors to move out of high-carbon assets and into assets built on renewable energy, energy efficiency and more sustainable ways of business that green global supply chains, she urged investors to accelerate the greening of their portfolios as one crucial step towards a low-carbon economy that can better cope with the threats and seize the opportunities from climate change. “Investment decisions need to reflect the clear scientific evidence, and fiduciary responsibility needs to grasp the intergenerational reality: namely that unchecked climate change has the potential to impact and eventually devastate the lives, livelihoods and savings of many, now and well into the future,”

She specifically called on institutional investors “to request companies they are invested in to disclose their carbon footprint and potential stranded assets such as those linked to the mining, exploration and burning of fossil fuels, and for members of pension funds to hold their trustees to account in this respect.

According to the International Energy Agency, $36 trillion of global investment in clean energy will be required by 2050 to meet the internationally agreed goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius. A major opportunity for investors to show their commitment to supporting low-carbon policies will be ahead of and during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2014, which is anticipated to build momentum for a strong global climate agreement in 2015.

More details of Ms. Figueres remarks to the Investor Summit are at . A video of the summit is available at CERES is non-profit network of investors, companies and public interest groups working to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.

Trans Pacific Partnership draft environment section creates uproar among US environmental groups

The environmental impact of freer trade has been a contentious issue since pre-NAFTA times. Despite several efforts, no organization has yet published a convincing analysis, in significant part because so many pressures impact on environmental quality that the effects of freer trade cannot be separated from all of the other pressures that lead to environmental degradation or improvement. Concerns over this issue have led to environmental agreements being linked to freer trade agreements in almost every situation for the last 20 years. In past trade negotiations Canada’s government would seek advice from various sectors of society on the implementation of  these environmental agreements. Today all trade-related negotiations happen in secret without any obvious consultation process.

Hence a leak of the draft environment section of the Trans Pacific Partnership attracts much attention from those organizations who are concerned about such matters. Major US environmental groups have panned the draft environment section of the TPP that WikiLeaks has recently published. Natural Resources Defence Council has described it as unacceptable; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club in the US, is quoted as saying “If the environment chapter is finalized as written in this leaked document, President Obama’s environmental trade record would be worse than George W. Bush’s”; and  Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund in the US, said “The lack of fully-enforceable environmental safeguards means negotiators are allowing a unique opportunity to protect wildlife and support legal sustainable trade of renewable resources to slip through their fingers”.

How much the section will be amended is unknown but some participants in the talks have indicated that the TPP is nearly finished and that completion of negotiations can be expected in 2015. Hence environmental groups and anti free trade activists are gearing up for a battle on the TPP’s environmental provisions. On the other hand, apparently in response to some of the expressed concerns, the Office of the United States Trade Representative has issued a statement which starts by stating

The United States’ position on the environment in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is this: environmental stewardship is a core American value, and we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement.

The USTR statement also includes:

It’s true that U.S. negotiators are fighting alone on some of these issues – but that’s exactly what they’re doing: pressing harder, not retreating.

In December the trade ministers of the 12 TPP countries met for three days to tackle tough issues together, including in the environment chapter. There, the United States reiterated our bedrock position on enforceability of the entire environment chapter, as well as our strong commitments to provisions such as those combating wildlife trafficking and illegal logging.

The entire TPP negotiation, including on the environmental chapter, is ongoing. We will continue to work with Congress and with our stakeholders in the environmental community, as we have from day one, for the strongest possible outcome. Together, we can continue to call on TPP partners to join us in achieving the high environmental standards being proposed and advocated by the United States.

GallonDaily anticipates that the WikiLeaks documents will start a much more robust discussion of trade and environment in general and the TPP and the environment more specifically.

The documents released by WikiLeaks – the draft environment chapter of the TPP along with a november 2013 Environment Chairs report which summarizes the environmental positions of the TPP negotiators – and WikiLeaks own analysis, can be found at

The statement from US World Wildlife Fund is at

The statement from the office of the United States Trade Representative in apparent response to the WikiLeaks documents is at