At Washington’s Insistence, WTO Rules Against India’s Push for Clean Energy
Don Quijones, 27/08/2015
The U.S. should be applauding India’s efforts to scale up solar energy—not turning to the WTO to strike the program down.”
by Nadia Prupis, staff writer at Common Dreams
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Wednesday ruled against India over its national solar energy program in a case brought by the U.S. government, sparking outrage from labor and environmental advocates.
As power demands grow in India, the country’s government put forth a plan to create 100,000 megawatts of energy from solar cells and modules, and included incentives to domestic manufacturers to use locally-developed equipment.
According to Indian news outlets, the WTO ruled that India had discriminated against American manufacturers by providing such incentives, which violates global trade rules, and struck down those policies—siding with the U.S. government in a case that the Sierra Club said demonstrates the environmentally and economically destructive power of pro-corporate deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“Today, we have more evidence of how free trade rules threaten the clean energy economy and undermine action to tackle the climate crisis,” Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, said on Thursday. “The U.S. should be applauding India’s efforts to scale up solar energy—not turning to the WTO to strike the program down.”
According to Indian media outlet Livemint, the U.S. government
has resorted to similar measures, specifying local content requirements and offering a range of subsidies for promoting its renewable energy sector at the federal, state, regional and local levels.In addition, Livemint reports, the ruling “goes against the spirit of an agreement signed early this year…. [in which] the two sides agreed to promote clean energy and expand solar energy initiatives.”
India spoke repeatedly against the US at WTO’s committee on subsidies and countervailing measures, stating that American subsidy schemes relating to local or domestic content requirements for its solar companies are inconsistent with its global trade obligations.
Regardless, Solomon said, the WTO “needs to get out of the business of hampering climate action in countries around the globe. The outdated trade rules on the books now and under negotiation in trade pacts including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership encourage trade in fossil fuels and discourage countries from developing local clean energy capacity.”
“These rules simply do not reflect the urgency of solving the climate crisis and stand in the way of clean energy growth,” Solomon said.
The Indian government will appeal the decision to the WTO’s highest court, the appellate body. It is the second time that the WTO has ruled against India in a case with the U.S., which first brought legal action against the country’s food security program in 2014.
The WTO ruled on that case in June, when it decided that the Indian ban on certain foods from the U.S. was “inconsistent with the global norms.” more
Monday, August 31, 2015
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
When the organization is the WTO, it is VERY easy to explain their actions in terms of stupidity—these are folks with a long and notorious track record of crazy policy decisions.
But not this time: India is a country in DIRE need of an aggressive solar program. The reasons are many but for the rest of us there is this reality—if India goes ahead with it plans to electrify their society by burning coal, they will push the world over the edge all by themselves—there are a lot of Indians. (Keep in mind that because we are tiptoeing next to the point of no return on atmospheric carbon loading, this applies to 100s of scenarios.) And they came up with a pretty good solar plan only to discover it did not conform to the free trade religious beliefs. Keep in mind that in order to believe in free trade, one must ignore essentially everything discovered by science since the dawn of the Enlightenment. What is more insane, the rules of free trade have a lousy track record.
But not this time. The WTO has launched an all-out assault on reason. And they are doing it in the face of overwhelming evidence. Sorry folks, no one is that damn stupid. This time we are talking about evil in virtually all of its definitions.