Poland demands coal funding for ratification of key climate change agreements

By bne IntelliNews September 6, 2016

Poland will tie ratification of important international agreements to tackle climate change to financial guarantees from the European Commission for the construction of new coal-fired power generation capacity, Warsaw said on September 5.

The statement befits Poland’s reputation as the European Union’s most sceptical member state with regard to climate policy. Warsaw has long said curbing emissions of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide in particular – puts the country’s energy security at risk. Poland’s energy mix relies more than 80% on emissions-intensive coal.

The government has now said it will only ratify two key international agreements aimed at curbing emissions should the European Commission issue financial guarantees for construction of new Polish coal-fired power plants. One agreement in question is the so-called Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which binds the EU to limit emissions by 20% against the 1990 levels by 2020. The other is the Paris agreement adopted late in 2015, which will replace the somewhat limited Kyoto Protocol as the first truly global legal means to reduce emissions.

For the Paris agreement to enter into force, it needs to be ratified by 55 states responsible for at least 55% of global emissions. The EU will join the agreement once each of its 28 member states ratifies it.

Poland’s demand smacks of "blackmail" one a climate policy expert suggested to bne Intellinews. The Paris agreement would clearly be weakened without the EU, which has long led the international efforts to curb climate change,

“Poland needs to build new power generation capacity. Coal will remain the basic energy source for years to come, ensuring the country’s energy security as well as jobs,” the government statement reads.

Warsaw is pushing a rescue of Poland's ailing coal mining sector. State-controlled energy companies have been persuaded to invest in new mining group PGG, while regulatory changes have all but halted the development of new wind power facilities in the country.


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