Tuesday

1st Dec 2020

Green Deal

Poland's coal phase-out 'feasible' by 2035

  • Polish deputy prime minister, Jasek Sasin, was recently quoted saying that coal could remain part of the Polish energy mix as long as up to 2060 (Photo: Kris Duda)

Poland's coal phaseout should take place by 2035 if the government does not interfere, according to a new report of the environmental group Greenpeace Polska.

Polish state-run utilities PGE, Enea, and Tauron, which own 94 percent of coal-fired power plants in the country, are expected to close by 2035 because of their life plan and unfavourable market conditions.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

However, Greenpeace is concerned that the Polish authorities will extend the operating life of these utilities after national media uncovered that the government plans to subsidise coal-fired plants until 2040.

Additionally, the Polish deputy prime minister, Jasek Sasin, was recently quoted saying that coal could remain part of the Polish energy mix as long as up to 2060.

The country, where over 70 percent of energy mix depends on coal, refused so far to set a specific coal-exit date.

Meanwhile, the situation in the region of Upper Silesia - where most of the hard coal mines are located - is becoming tense.

After an attempt by the Polish authorities to allegedly close two mines in the region, miners' unions threatened the government with a new "uprising" in Silesia in late July.

The government then started talks with coal companies and trade unions about "the future of mining" - due to conclude at the end of September.

"Poland and other European Union countries should abandon coal combustion in the energy sector by 2030 at the latest ... to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change," warned the green group, demanding that no state aid is provided for coal-plant closures that do not take place by 2035.

"Why on earth - in times of economic and climate crisis - should we pay for prolonging the lifetime of climate killing business?," said the head of climate and energy at Greenpeace Polska, Joanna Flisowska, who believes that "without new lifelines and subsidies coal is at the dead-end even in Poland".

"The European Commission needs to ensure that there is no state aid provided for the coal energy sector to run business as usual or even worse delay phasing out coal," she added.

According to a previous proposal of the commission, Poland would receive the largest funding slice of the Just Transition Fund - allocating the upper limit of the fund to Poland, despite Warsaw's refusal to commit to the EU 2050 climate-neutrality target.

The Just Transition Fund, which aims to support fossil fuel-dependent regions to green their economies, was cut to €17.5bn from the initial €40bn during the last summit in July.

Poland's climate neutrality pledge - delayed again?

Although Friday's summit was supposed to be an opportunity for Poland to commit to climate neutrality by 2050 - like the rest of the EU - the coronavirus has postponed that discussion, with domestic elections also upcoming.

EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target

Emissions regulated under the EU's carbon market fell by 9.1 percent in 2019, although aviation emissions continued to increased. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to lead to "an unprecedented fall in emissions" in 2020.

News in Brief

  1. EU medical agency to decide on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
  2. Euro-bailout fund to also help banks
  3. Trade unions urge date for pay transparency directive
  4. 33 governments must answer youth climate lawsuit
  5. US slams Hungarian article for Soros/Hitler comparison
  6. Sturgeon doesn't rule out 2021 Scottish independence vote
  7. Hungary's Orban and Poland's Morawiecki meet again
  8. Gran Canaria migrant camp dismantled

Livestream

Live: Join the Nordic climate debate 'Choosing Green'

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has stalled climate negotiations, work has not stopped. The 'Choosing Green' debate will address some of the most important and most complex key areas relating to the global green transition. Live on EUobserver from 10:00 (CET).

Timmermans 'disappointed' with ongoing CAP reform

For European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, the Common Agricultural Policy has to answer to "higher expectations" on climate action, protection of biodiversity and environmental sustainability, while ensuring a fair income for all farmers.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. China and Russia encircling divided Western allies
  2. Fish complicates last push for post-Brexit deal
  3. EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target
  4. Hungary must keep Russian vaccine within borders, says EU
  5. If EU is serious, it should use more US liquified gas, not less
  6. EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal
  7. EU debates first names to go on human rights blacklist
  8. Lithuania bids to host EU cyber-centre

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us