“Find the Justice now, Keep it in the Ground, … not in this town, we will fight this NAFTA now and replace it next round.” That is the song that a group of young people from Canada and the U.S. sang in the Bonn Zone of the COP23 today.
According to the Sierra Club, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has empowered corporate polluters and locked in fossil fuel dependency, “boosting destructive mining in Mexico and contributing to the rise of Canada´s toxic tar sands industry.”
President Trump signed an executive order to renegotiate NAFTA to grow the U.S economy. Even though it was not intended, the Sierra Club believes that this renegotiation could be an opportunity to incorporate and enforce the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.
For these young people, the trade agreements are more binding than the climate agreements. Transforming NAFTA limiting fossil fuel activities and improving workers lives, will enhance the protection of workers rights, communities and the planet.
As noted by Anthony Torres from the Sierra Club, “corporate trade agreements like NAFTA have undermined the Paris Agreement´s core objective of tackling climate change. Instead leading environmentalists across North America have called for a NAFTA replacement that incorporates and enforces the Paris Agreement´s climate goals.”
Likewise, Maia Wikler from SustainUS and a Vancouver, BC resident said: “My government has an opportunity and a responsibility to ensure that NAFTA´s replacement enforces the Paris climate goals rather than undermining them. So far, our trade and climate agreements have gone in opposite directions- a huge gap not being addressed at this conference.”
Everyday we get to see more young people clamoring for decision makers to improve climate actions. #TransformTrade is one more. Hopefully, if the governments involved in NAFTA follow their petitions, and don´t let trade “trump” climate, the renegotiation of NAFTA will incorporate the Paris climate goals.