Thursday, August 20, 2020

Should I sign the petition led by on all European leaders to stop the EU-Mercosur trade agreement?

It seems clear to me that “the well documented high level of deforestation, human rights violations, and the refusal to respect climate commitments in Brazil” are a serious problem.

But that’s not what the petition is about. The petition wants to stop a particular political agreement between the EU and Mercosur (i.e. the potentially future United States of South America).

Political agreements (including trade deals) are important steps towards reconciliation because they define international rules and help making things clear.

Unfortunately the invitation to sign, which provides some links to external sources, fails to provide the most important link: where is the proposed agreement we are talking about? The only thing they say about the document is that “the politicians behind the deal claim it includes a “commitment to tackle deforestation” – but over 600 scientists, two Brazilian indigenous organisations and 340 civil society groups are calling foul.[4]” I had to manually copy and paste the link behind the [4] in order to read it: 340+ organisations call on the EU to immediately halt trade negotiations with Brazil

Yes, but this article is over a year old. I guess that a few brains have been working on the topic since then. Okay, I asked Ecosia and easily found that famous agreement they are all talking about:

Here I read for the first time that indeed a few brains have been working on the topic since June 2019. There was now a press release on 2020-06-08 saying European Commission publishes draft Sustainability Impact Assessment for the Trade part of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement

The press release says “As regards deforestation, the experience of the period from 2004 to 2012, when Brazil dramatically decreased the rate of deforestation while agricultural production was expanding, shows that agriculture and meat production are not an obstacle to the protection of forests, provided that sound policies are in place. Thus, the decrease of deforestation will ultimately depend on the adoption and effective enforcement of appropriate environmental policy measures, such as the ones that allowed the decrease of deforestation. In this regard, the report recommends a number of key measures that should be put in place by the Mercosur countries and highlights the importance of the commitment undertaken by Brazil under the trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapter to implement effectively its Paris Agreement pledges, including very substantial ones on deforestation (for example reforesting 12 million hectares by 2030, ending illegal logging, compensating any legal logging and strengthening the forest code).”

No, I won’t sign that petition. After more than an hour of research I still don’t understand what’s so bad about this agreement. It might even cause the opposite of what believe: that it might help to find sustainable solutions for the problems caused by human business activities. Also I am angry with because they simply left out these pieces of information. This is a sin against reality. Deliberately leaving out some important information is also a kind of lie.