Sunday

27th May 2018

Poland to veto EU low carbon plan

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

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).

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."

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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."

Focus

China threatens EU with legal action in CO2 dispute

Chinese airlines are resisting being included in the EU's carbon emissions trading scheme from 1 January and are considering legal action, a move also being considered by their counterparts in the US. The warning comes despite the European Commission suggesting that some exemptions would be possible.

Focus

CO2 reductions slip down EU priority list

EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said that achieving an agreement on reduced CO2 emissions at a United Nations' conference this year is no longer a top EU priority.

Brussels moves to tackle slumped carbon market

The European Commission on Wednesday announced short-term plans to bolster the carbon Emissions Trading Scheme, its flagship environment project undermined by rock bottom carbon prices.

Opinion

More commitment to renewables from Council, please

More and more consumers are likely to invest in solar panels in the future as it becomes simpler to produce one's own electricity, writes Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.

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