WWF and Nature & Environment oppose punitive import tariffs on Chinese solar panels
“Punitive import tariffs on Chinese solar panels threaten a quarter of a million jobs in the European sustainable energy sector. They torpedo affordable renewable energy prices for consumers, suppress the growth of zero-polluting solar power and thus undermine the path to a clean energy economy powered fully by renewables”, said Ron Wit, director of the Energy team at Nature & Environment.
According to estimates, with import levies of 60% on Chinese solar panels, more than 240,000 jobs in the solar industry are at risk across Europe, mainly in the construction and installation sector .
Thanks to incentives from governments and cheaper production of the panels, especially in China, the market for solar panels has grown enormously over the last few years. Heavy import duties could lead to a doubling of the purchase price of solar panels and undermine the rapid growth of the solar sector in many European countries. Just when more and more Europeans choose solar panels, the EU Commission risks overthrowing this fantastic movement towards clean energy.
For WWF and Nature & Environment, to disadvantage renewables while carbon emissions and climate change are increasing exponentially is absurd. This leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when one considers that worldwide two trillion dollars are spent on subsidies for fossil fuels annually .
“No doubt the coal, oil, nuclear and gas lobbies will be cracking open the champagne as the Commission is failing to tackle their continued and detrimental impact on nature and society as well as ignoring sky-rocketing fossil fuel subsidies”, added Stephan Singer, Director of Global Energy Policy at WWF. “Instead of looking at the bigger picture and creating more sustainable jobs in the context of the European financial crisis the Commission is focusing on a minor issue. Destroying new clean commercial activities and engaging in a trade war with China on clean energy technology is the last thing we need right now."
The European Commission’s decision is due to be announced on 6 June, or even earlier according to rumours.
Note to the editors:
 WWF and Nature & Environment’s position paper to the European Commission on import tariffs on solar panel imports from China:
 Source: Alliance For Affordable Solar Energy, AFASE, February 2013: http://afase.org/sites/default/files/docs/media/afase_press_release_prognos_study_launch_changes_190213.pdf
 International Monetary Fund study: “Energy subsidy reform: Lessons and implications”:
Dr Stephan Singer
Director of Global Energy Policy
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Director Energy team
Natuur & Milieu Netherlands
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