Friday

10th Jul 2020

Poland vetoes CO2 targets on eve of Paris visit

  • Law and Justice has pledged to protect Polish coal miners despite Kyoto and EU-level accords (Photo: Frank Kehren)

Polish president Andrzej Duda has vetoed ratification of climate change laws one day before he visits Paris, in a sign of the “new political situation” in Warsaw.

The veto covers Poland’s compliance with the so-called Doha amendment to the Kyoto protocol on CO2 emissions.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Duda due in Paris one month before climate change summit (Photo: Andrzej Hrechorowicz)

The Kyoto deal, from 1997, obliges signatory states to cut emissions by 5 percent between 2008 and 2012, compared to 1990 levels. The Doha accord extends the binding target to 2020.

But Duda’s office said on Tuesday (27 October) that “binding Poland to an international agreement affecting the economy and with associated social costs should be preceded by a detailed analysis of the legal and economic impact … these effects have not been sufficiently clarified”.

Kyoto underpins an EU political deal to cut emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and by 40 percent by 2030, with the European Commission, next year, to table laws on how to divide the cuts between member states.

Kyoto also underpins plans for a climate change summit, in Paris on 30 November, designed to create a binding mechanism which covers all UN states.

Duda wielded the veto ahead of his visit, on Wednesday, to the French capital in what Polish pundits see as a sign of new assertiveness on the dossier.

He also wielded it two days after the Law and Justice party, to which he belongs, swept to power in parliamentary elections in Poland in what Duda’s spokesman, Krzysztof Szczerski, described on Tuesday as “the new political situation”.

Law and Justice has promised to protect Poland’s coal industry, which employs 100,000 people and supplies over 85 percent of its electricity.

The party, on Tuesday, officially nominated Beata Szydlo, a 52-year old coal-miner’s daughter, to be prime minister.

But the party's chief, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a former PM with a history of nasty confrontations in Brussels, is widely seen as pulling the strings on both Duda and Szydlo.

Szczerski, the Duda spokesman, listed priorities for the French visit as: migration; the Middle East security situation; next year’s Nato summit in Warsaw; the EU’s eastern neighbourhood; climate change; the economy; and energy security.

He described France as a “strategic partner” and said Duda will call for more frequent meetings in the “Weimar” format of French, German, and Polish leaders.

He said a Paris climate summit deal “will only make sense … if it doesn’t bring harmful effects to the Polish and European economies, for instance, by undermining competitiveness or reducing energy security”.

Meanwhile, Duda, during Law and Justice’s election campaign, repeated Kaczynski’s controversial claim that Syrian refugees might bring exotic diseases to Europe.

He has, in the past, criticised France and Germany for excluding Poland from Ukraine peace talks and has urged Germany to drop opposition to new Nato bases in Poland.

But for Konrad Szymanski, a Law and Justice MEP who is tipped to be Szydlo’s EU affairs minister, climate change will be the biggest irritant in future Polish-EU relations.

“I thought that migration is the most difficult issue in Europe, but now it looks like it’s going to be climate policies,” he told the Bloomberg news agency last Friday.

He said Poland has a “strategic problem” with the EU deal on CO2 targets “because even with all the things in the box [EU financial aid mechanisms] we are not in a position to compensate the Polish energy sector and industry for the losses they will have to bear.”

EU agrees common position for climate summit

Environment ministers agreed to demand a 50% cut in carbon emissions by 2050 and a review mechanism in case of an agreement at the upcoming climate conference in Paris.

News in Brief

  1. Irish finance minister voted in as eurogroup president
  2. Italy's League party opens office near old communist HQ
  3. 'Significant divergences' remain in Brexit talks
  4. Germany identifies 32,000 right-wing extremists
  5. WHO to hold probe of global Covid-19 response
  6. China accuses Australia of 'gross interference' on Hong Kong
  7. EU to let Croatia, Bulgaria take first step to join euro
  8. Rushdie, Fukuyama, Rowling warn against 'intolerance'

Regions urge EU to act on 'green hydrogen'

The EU's regions urged the unlocking of the potential of hydrogen produced from renewable sources, so-called 'green hydrogen', to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

France's oldest nuclear power plant finally closed on Tuesday, one day after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to speed up the country's transition to a greener economy responding to the proposals from the French citizens' convention on climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Border pre-screening centres part of new EU migration pact
  2. EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds
  3. MEPs give green light to road transport sector reform
  4. If EU wants rule of law in China, it must help 'dissident' lawyers
  5. Five ideas to reshape 'Conference on Future of Europe'
  6. EU boosts pledges to relocate minors from Greece
  7. Hydrogen strategy criticised for relying on fossil fuel gas
  8. Merkel urges EU unity to hold off economic fallout and populism

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us