J500 Media and the Environment


NAFTA: Only If We Absolutely Hafta by rarab

Editor’s note: The following is part of the Tangled Up In Green series put together by yours truly and Adam. This was originally published last week. Our current topic addresses the environmental concerns linked to the Iraq War.nafta-flag.jpg

I don’t know if you caught it, but the whole Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama flap over NAFTA exposed a dirty little secret: The North American Free Trade Agreement isn’t about American jobs or cheap Mexican labor—it’s about Canadian oil.

Think as far back as three weeks ago. I know you can do it. Remember, Britney’s dad started taking control of her life… everyone you know bugged the hell out of you by constantly saying: “I drink your milkshake…”

Anyway, back then, Hillary and Obama were campaigning among blue-collar crowds in Ohio when news broke out that someone from the Obama camp called the Canadian government and reassured them that the tough talk on NAFTA was all just an act. Later, it was revealed that Hillary probably made a similar call.

All of which begged the question: Why would they care so much about Canada if this was about NAFTA? Hasn’t Uncle Lou told us time and time again that NAFTA is all about Mexico: its cheap labor, and its non-existent regulations, which entice American factories to relocate south of the border?

Well, the dirty little secret is that without NAFTA America would no longer have a special deal with Canadian oil, which currently makes up roughly eight percent of annual U.S. oil consumption.

So — as sad as it is — breaking off the deal is itself a deal-breaker for both Democratic candidates, and, of course, for John McCain too. And, once again, our dependence on oil has led us into unsound policy.

Still, at least the Democratic candidates insist they will call for a restructuring of NAFTA—for both labor and environmental reasons.

We need to hold them to that promise.

It might provide a great opportunity to emphasize green practices. That means getting all three nations on board to create stricter—and enforceable—regulations; it means setting up a carbon-credit program between the three countries to help offset emissions of greenhouse gases; it means requiring all three nations to invest a substantial amount toward the development of renewable energy sources.

In other words use NAFTA to help put the three countries on the cutting-edge of the green movement. Make something positive out of a negative.

It looks like we’ll be stuck with NAFTA for the near future and that’s certainly bad news the way the agreement is currently structured. Any treaty that prolongs the short-sighted need to maintain our current levels of oil consumption, while neglecting to use the best alternative resources at the disposal of all three nations, is not just drinking our milkshake — it’s throwing it down the drain!

You get my point.

–Ranjit

Flag artwork courtesy of illegalillegals

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3 Comments so far
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[…] Ranjit Arab wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThat means getting all three nations on board to create stricter—and enforceable—regulations; it means setting up a carbon-credit program between the three countries to help offset emissions of greenhouse gases; it means requiring all … […]

Pingback by » NAFTA: Only If We Absolutely Hafta

“In other words use NAFTA to help put the three countries on the cutting-edge of the green movement. Make something positive out of a negative.”

Good post. Good idea. Maybe we can make it happen.

Comment by outsider222

[…] Read the rest of this great post here […]

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