In the last decade, China has invested billions in solar and used aggressive subsidy strategies that have sent panel prices plummeting. Clean green tech is now almost as cheap as dirty fossil fuels! But instead of matching that investment, our governments have cut back on renewables, while continuing their huge handouts to Big Oil and Coal. Now that they're losing the solar market share, a few companies are pushing the EU to slap tariffs on China -- a move that could kill the clean energy revolution.
Today, the EU Commission initiated an investigation into tariffs. Many in the solar industry and Chancellor Angela Merkel are against this move. Now, if we build a 500,000 strong petition, Avaaz will make a formal submission to the EU that could tip the balance. But we only have days to make sure the public is heard. Sign the petition to the Trade Commissioner calling for talks not tariffs:
China has a poor human rights and environmental record, and its strategy of flooding the global market with subsidised goods could be considered overly aggressive. But while China, the EU and the US all continue to funnel tens of billions into Big Coal, Oil and Gas to destroy our planet, China is also providing loans and huge subsidies to the solar industry. And that's exactly what our governments have failed to do.
It's tough, some European solar panel firms have gone bankrupt or are facing bankruptcy, but blaming China alone is short-sighted. Heavy tariffs placed on Chinese panels would increase the price of solar power and would be a job killer for the booming solar installation sector, which makes up a large share of the industry in Europe. Instead, European leaders should cut fossil fuel subsidies, invest heavily in appropriate renewables, and work with China to facilitate trade and speed up the clean energy revolution.
We're in a race against the clock to green our economies and prevent catastrophic climate change, and Chinese success in green tech could be the perfect catalyst for the rest of the world to scale up the technology and sustainably bring down prices. Let's urgently call on Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht not to kill our climate ray of hope:
In the world most of us everywhere want, our governments would incentivise clean energy, not hand out our money to polluters making record profits from dirtying our land, air and water. Today, we can save solar, and take one step closer to that future.
Iain, Joseph, Alice, David, Julien, Emma, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS - Avaaz has launched Community Petitions, an exciting new platform where it's quick and easy to create a campaign on any issue you care strongly about. Start your own by clicking here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?do.ps.solar
BBC -- "China solar panel imports investigated by European Union"
ITCSD -- "Merkel calls for dialogue on EU-China solar trade row"
Forbes – "Solar Trade War Widens To Europe, SolarWorld Called 'Crazed Agent Provocateur":
NYT -- "Europe Prepares to Investigate Chinese Dumping of Solar Panels"
EuroPolitics -- "Fresh trade frictions ahead of summit"