For the first time in a trade agreement, the EU is seeking to include a specific chapter dedicated to trade in energy and raw materials. The first issue that negotiators are examining is the possibility to include trade in environmentally friendly energy products. This would cover not only the trade in renewable technologies, building on and complementing work on the plurilateral trade in green goods agreement, but also look at the trade in goods and services concerning energy efficient products, helping the EU not only to meet its targets on renewable energy and emissions reductions, but also on energy efficiency.
In addition, by improving the access of the EU to US exports of energy, in particular natural gas; the agreement could help in achieving the EU’s aim to reduce its CO2 emissions. Increasing the use of gas compared to other fossil fuels in the EU's energy mix is both strategic and environmentally driven; gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available, emitting less CO2 than coal and crude oil. US gas is traditionally much cheaper than the EU price, sometimes only a third. Strategically, increasing the amount of US gas in Europe would also reduce the reliance on gas from existing and less reliable partners in the East but also it would provide the much needed diversity to the EU energy market.
None of this would come at the expense of the ability of the EU's Member States to regulate the extraction and use of energy as this topic is categorically not on the table for TTIP negotiations. The government of each EU member country is responsible for deciding how to use energy resources in their territory, including the use of shale gas. Nothing in TTIP could limit this sovereign right of each EU country.
Indeed, EU measures to reduce CO2 emissions have been echoed across the Atlantic. California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard, is similar to that of the EU's Fuel Quality Directive. This highlights one of the many opportunities available to work together on energy.
TTIP is a chance to aid the EU in improving its Energy diversity and sustainability.