Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

The New Climate Debt: Carbon Trading Wrapped in a Green Bond Proposal

By Dr. Steve Suppan   
Published December 1, 2010

AgricultureMarketsClimateClimate ChangeMarket speculationUnited Nations

During the upcoming negotiations on climate change in Cancún, Mexico, International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) members will be trying to sell their June proposal on “green sectoral bonds” as a “new carbon mechanism.”1 Like a conventional bond, the “green sectoral bond” is a debt instrument issued for a specific purpose, in this case for investments to meet bond-stipulated greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, and whose principal must be paid back with interest over an agreed time period.

Conventional bonds require collateral for bond repayment, such as physical assets that can be sold for cash, or in some cases abstract concepts, such as “the full faith and credit of the United States” for government-issued bonds. The collateral of the “green sectoral bonds” would be developing country carbon emissions credits, which bond creditors and other investors can buy and sell as often as they wish. And, of course, developing countries would be required to pay back the bond principle with interest, if they wish to retrieve their carbon emissions collateral to trade for their own profit. The following brief analysis explains some of the features of this proposal in the context of the climate change negotiations.

IETA brings together about 170 transnational financial, law, energy and manufacturing firms who believe that trading carbon emissions and their financial derivatives is the most effective way to induce emitters to invest directly in low greenhouse gas–emitting technology.2 Given the IETA members’ economic power, revolving-door presence in government and lobbying clout, developing country governments may view “green sectoral bond” funds as a reliable form of climate finance. If implemented, the green bond proposal would transform climate finance from a public fiduciary duty primarily funded by developed countries to a new source of developing country debt to private creditors—and a new source of profits for IETA members, particularly from trading the emissions credits in the secondary market of carbon derivatives.

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