Expected Polish election winner urges EU climate deal renegotiation

No friend of the press: Jarosław Kaczyński. [Wikimedia]

The likely winner of Poland’s 25 October parliamentary election called yesterday (13 October) for a renegotiation of a climate deal agreed last year by the European Union, saying the country needed more coal-based power stations.

The European Union agreed last year, after marathon negotiations, to cut greenhouse gases by 40 percent by 2030, pitting heavy industry against green business.

>> Read: EU leaders adopt ‘flexible’ energy and climate targets for 2030

The emissions goal is also the basis of the EU position for the Paris climate change talks that start on 30 November. There is still some scope for discussion on how to achieve the emissions goal, but Poland is likely to meet stiff resistance from its EU partners if it attempts to reopen the climate deal.

Poland, whose economy depends on highly polluting coal, has long opposed EU initiatives to curb carbon emissions, but the conservative main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, tipped to win the election, says it will take a much tougher stance if it gains power.

“The demand for electricity, if our economy develops fast, should increase at double the pace, so there should be many more power plants,” PiS leader Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski said at a televised briefing in the town of Konin, home to a lignite coal-fuelled power station owned by ZE PAK.

“We have to fight for this in the European Union. As to the climate package renegotiation is needed. We should not have agreed to that, it could have been vetoed,” Kaczy?ski said.

The party’s energy point man Piotr Naimski told Reuters in August he hoped that any United Nations’ climate deal to emerge later this year would be non-binding, which would enable Warsaw to renegotiate the current EU emissions laws. 

On 23 October 2014 EU leaders committed by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%, and increase energy efficiency and renewables by at least 27%.

But the efficiency and renewables targets were watered down. The European Commission had called for an efficiency goal of 30%. That was reduced to 27% across the EU. The EU level target is not legally binding at the national level or EU level and will be reviewed in 2020 “having in mind” a 30% EU-level target, according to the summit conclusions.

A special "flexibility clause" was added to the final text, making it possible for the European Council to return to the targets after the UN summit in December 2015. 

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