Public Citizen and Sierra Club Denounce World Trade Organization Attack on Successful Clean Energy Program

In Final Appeals Ruling, WTO Orders Canada to Roll Back Green Jobs Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A World Trade Organization (WTO) final ruling against Ontario’s successful renewable energy incentives program, which has reduced carbon emissions and created clean energy jobs, underscores the threat that WTO poses to a clean energy future.

In November 2012, the WTO ruled that Ontario’s incentives program for renewable energy companies at home – or “feed-in tariff” program – violates WTO rules that forbid treating local or domestic firms and products differently from foreign firms and products. On Monday, the WTO struck down Canada’s appeal of that initial ruling in a decision that went even further to condemn the green jobs program as a violation of WTO rules.

“By ordering the rollback of a successful program that is reducing carbon pollution and creating green jobs after recently sacking three popular U.S. consumer protection policies, the WTO is destroying whatever shred of legitimacy it still had after years of imposing its anti-consumer, anti-environment dictates,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Just like the WTO rulings ordering the U.S. to gut popular laws on country-of-origin meat labels, dolphin-safe tuna labels and limits on candy-flavored cigarettes marketed to kids, this latest attack against an initiative promoting renewable energy, localization and green job creation is simply unacceptable.”

Ontario’s renewable energy incentives program was established under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009. It increases incentives to develop clean and safe renewable energy by guaranteeing that the provincial public electricity utility, Ontario Power Authority, will pay a preferential price for 20 years to companies for the wind, solar and other clean energies they produce. Although the program is new, it already has achieved significant success, including contracts for an estimated 4,600 megawatts worth of clean energy and the creation of more than 20,000 jobs in just two years.

“As people around the world grapple with consequences of the climate crisis, their governments should and must use every tool available to reduce dangerous carbon pollution and create new clean energy jobs,” said Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club trade representative. “To avoid climate chaos, the WTO needs to get out of the way of innovative and successful climate solutions and job creators.”

The Sierra Club and Public Citizen support calls of Canadian allies, including the Council of Canadians, to keep Ontario’s renewable energy incentives program in place.

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that has worked to protect health, safety and democracy since 1971.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization with more than 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide.

 

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