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Poland Blocks EU Political Statement On Carbon Emission Reduction Goals

Poland blocked a planned European Union declaration on climate policy for the second time in nine months, highlighting the difficulty that the EU faces in deepening emission reductions and bolstering carbon-dioxide prices.

The Polish government, flexing its weight at a meeting of European environment ministers today in Brussels, vetoed a political statement on the path for the EU to meet a political goal of cutting greenhouse gases including CO2 by at least 80 percent in 2050. Conclusions after EU ministerial meetings, which often lead to new legislation, require unanimous support.

Denmark, current holder of the 27-nation EU’s rotating presidency, announced the result after seeking support from all member countries for the cheapest potential emission-reduction targets identified by the European Commission. The commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, said in a strategy paper last year that the best scenario for Europe would be to cut emissions by 40 percent in 2030 and 60 percent in 2040 compared with 1990 levels.

The EU is already on track to meet its binding goal of lowering discharges of greenhouse gases by 20 percent in 2020. The bloc may exceed this target and reduce emissions by 25 percent as long as nations step up energy savings, the commission said in the paper, known as the 2050 low-carbon road map.

Poland, which relies on coal for about 90 percent of its electricity generation and blocked an EU declaration on climate policies in June last year, has repeatedly said it would oppose any more stringent climate policies than those already agreed. Poland also opposes any decisions on post-2020 goals before Europe gets more clarity on a global emissions-reduction deal that countries worldwide agreed to achieve by 2015.

Bloomberg, 9 March 2012