Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

Latest WTO Case Challenging U.S. State Renewable Energy Policies Illustrates Why Global Trade Rules Must Change

Statements of Public Citizen Experts
WASHINGTON -

Note: Late last week, China initiated dispute settlement consultations against the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO), targeting state-level renewable energy incentive programs in California, Michigan and Washington. A previous case filed by India targeted many of the same programs.

“The WTO is functioning like a circular firing squad against climate sanity with countries taking shots at each other’s renewable energy policies in a manner that in the end stands to kill all of our chances of avoiding planetary disaster.

At a time when nations should be using all tools available to hasten the transition to renewable energy, once again, the WTO’s corporate-rigged rules are being used as a weapon against commonsense environmental progress. The European Union and Japan have used WTO tribunals to attack Canada over the state of Ontario’s successful feed-in-tariff program that incentivized the production of renewable energy, forcing Canada to revise its groundbreaking clean energy program. The United States successfully attacked India’s programs that incentivized local solar production. And then India attacked several U.S. state renewable energy programs that include “buy-local” rules that create local, green jobs and bring new solar entrepreneurs to the economy.

If China goes through with this challenge against some of these same popular U.S. state-level renewable energy programs, it will be just the latest example of how WTO rules – written in the early 1990s by and for multinational corporations – undermine climate action and other important public interest goals. WTO tribunals have already ruled against popular country-of-origin labels for meat and broadly supported U.S. endangered species, clean air and dolphin protections policies.”

-Lori Wallach, director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

“This latest WTO attack on U.S. state policy is particularly concerning because, in the absence of federal energy and climate policy, U.S. states and municipalities have assumed a leadership role to help deploy clean, sustainable energy and combat climate change. Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. feature renewable energy requirements. Half of all growth in U.S. renewable electricity generation and capacity since 2000 is the result of state renewable power requirements.”

-Tyson Slocum, director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program

###

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people – not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo