[New Delhi, India] – 25 February 2016 : Climate Action Network South Asia, a coalition of over 143 civil society organizations, collectively condemned the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against India’s ambitious solar program, that requires power companies to use locally manufactured solar cells and modules in order to benefit from a government-subsidized program, to achieve its commitments to Paris Agreement.
“India must not allow the American government to use outdated WTO rules to undermine and undercut its domestic renewable energy industry, international climate commitments and its low carbon development agenda. India must appeal to USA and WTO to use common sense and recognize the common danger posed by climate change. India’s ambition to install 100GW by 2022 is one of its main contribution to the global fight against climate change.” said Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network South Asia.
To achieve its ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs) to the Paris Agreement, India has launched an ambitious solar power program under the National Solar Mission, which is aimed at adding 100GW of solar power by 2022. The local content requirement is only for 5,000MW each for rooftop and land-based projects where the government provides a subsidy of upto Rs. 1 crore per MW for solar projects that place orders with domestic suppliers. However, as a member of the WTO, India is not authorized to insist on using domestic suppliers to the detriment of foreign competitors, and government’s operating within WTO guidelines must also treat imports the same as domestically manufactured products.
“For the success of Paris agreement, it is important that developed countries empower and support efforts of countries like India in combating climate change. We understand that India has already agreed to make modifications in the solar program and will not sell the power generated from such subsidized panels for commercial use. We hope the US will accept the proposal and withdraw the case from the WTO. Otherwise India has one opportunity to appeal the WTO ruling. If the WTO rules against India again, India would be under pressure to weaken or eliminate its buy-local rules to avoid WTO-authorized trade sanctions.“ added Sanjay Vashist.
(1) WTO RULING : https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/FE_Search/FE_S_S009-Html.aspx?Id=227076&BoxNumber=3&DocumentPartNumber=1&Language=E&Window=L&PreviewContext=DP&FullTextHash=371857150#KV_GENERATED_FILE_000088.htm
(Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) is a coalition of 143 civil society organisations from 8 South Asian countries promoting equity and sustainable development in the design and development of an effective global strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure its implementation. For more information visit www.cansouthasia.net )