World Trade Organization Undermines Homegrown Solar Energy in India

For Immediate Release

Contact: 
Dan Byrnes (202) 495-3039 or daniel.byrnes@sierraclub.org

World Trade Organization Undermines Homegrown Solar Energy in India

GENEVA - Today, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against a common-sense solar energy initiative in India that is a core component of the country’s contribution to the Paris agreement to tackle climate disruption.

By offering solar power companies government subsidies and long-term contracts, India’s program has already rapidly scaled up solar energy. The program aims to achieve 100,000 megawatts of solar power capacity by 2022 – more than the current solar capacity of the world’s top five solar producers combined.

The WTO ruled against India’s ambitious solar program because its first phases require power companies to use solar cells and modules made in India in order to benefit from the government-subsidized program.

There's something in the air...

In response, Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program released the following statement:

“The WTO ruling is a step in the wrong direction, away from the climate progress that the global community committed to achieve in December’s Paris climate agreement. Clean, renewable energy like solar is becoming cheaper in the U.S. and abroad, creating new jobs, helping us move beyond coal and other dirty fuels and solve the climate crisis. We cannot afford to let decades-old, over-reaching trade rules trump policies that can create new green jobs and accelerate the transition to 100 percent clean energy.
 
Almost half of U.S. states have programs that, like India’s, offer incentives for renewable energy production that creates local, green jobs. The U.S. should drop this case to avoid undermining climate protections abroad and at home.
 
“This decision is a warning against expansive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that would replicate rules that undermine clean energy initiatives and constrain climate progress. Destructive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership go far beyond trade and interfere with commonsense policies needed to solve the climate crisis. Congress should view this ruling as another reason to stand up for green jobs and climate action by rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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