Poland to veto EU low carbon plan

08.03.12 @ 09:19

  1. By Andrew Rettman
  2. Andrew email

BRUSSELS - Polish environment minister Marcin Korolec has said he will veto an EU proposal for CO2 cuts at a meeting in Brussels on Friday (9 March).

  • Poland still relies on coal - one of the dirtiest energy sources - for 90 percent of electricity production (Photo: AdamCohn)

The minister told Polish press agency, Pap, in Warsaw on Wednesday: "Our position is - we do not agree to any higher EU reduction goals looking to the year 2020. To currently define climate policy, when we do not know what global negotiations will look like, is seriously premature."

The Danish EU presidency at a meeting of environment ministers in the EU capital is to propose the Union should make even deeper cuts to carbon emissions in an energy roadmap up to 2050.

The bloc is currently committed to 20 percent cuts by 2020. But the roadmap envisages 40 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040, while some are calling for 30 percent by 2020.

Other Polish government sources told Pap that Warsaw also objects to other details of the "low carbonisation" plan.

It does not want the European Commission to get powers to impose legally-binding CO2 targets on EU countries. It wants instead to aggregate member states' individual cuts and come up with an EU-level target.

It is against going beyond the EU's existing pledge to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020, amid calls to aim for 30 percent, before global talks end in 2015. It wants to be able to sell CO2 permits in the EU's carbon trading system even if they exceed limits set by the so-called Kyoto protocol, the global-level climate deal from 1997.

It also dislikes commission plans to reduce CO2 permits for EU countries to promote energy efficiency measures, such as better heating insulation for large buildings.

Poland still relies on coal - among the dirtiest of energy sources - for 90 percent of electricity production. It has closed some mines since the end of Communism in 1989, but the sector currently employs about 180,000 people, who are prone to holding violent demonstrations in Warsaw.

An EU diplomat noted that the Czech Republic and Romania are "hiding behind Poland" on the issue. But that they are unlikely to use their veto if Poland drops its red flag.

A spokesman for the Danish EU presidency said: "We will have to see. The presidency is always open to negotiations. But we want to uphold some level of ambition and watering down the proposal means we might lose other member sates."