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Poland Challenges EU’s Carbon Market Reform


Poland is challenging draft carbon market reforms agreed by most European Union governments this week, saying the deal is not binding because it did not have the full backing of the bloc’s 28 nations, the country’s environment ministry said yesterday (2 March).

Poland does not rule out taking the issue to the European Court of Justice to unravel the legislation once it is adopted, Environment Ministry spokesman Pawel Mucha told Reuters.

Poland was among nine countries who opposed a deal backed by 19 EU environment ministers on long-awaited reforms of the Emission Trading System (ETS), which is the EU’s flagship policy to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.

The EU has been trying to reform the system because it has suffered from an excess supply of carbon permits that depressed prices.

EU ministers reached a compromise on reforms to the carbon emissions market yesterday (28 February), moving the European Union closer to adopting rules that are crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

But Poland fears the reforms to the so-called cap-and-trade system will prove too heavy a burden for its energy-intensive industrial plants and coal-fired power stations.

The EU’s efforts to tackle global warming have increasingly put Poland at odds with the rest of the 28-nation bloc, which is keen to maintain leadership in global climate diplomacy.

Poland’s Environment Ministry said it felt “cheated” by the compromise deal, saying it violated the right of each member state to shape its own energy mix. The ministry said in a statement that the draft reform proposal adopted by the EU members was “not binding”.

Warsaw is arguing that EU treaties say rules on a country’s choice between different energy sources can only be adopted with the unanimous consent of the bloc’s 28 nations.

On Tuesday evening (28 February), the European Council agreed its position on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). MEP Ian Duncan admits he didn’t really see it coming.

Polish diplomats contested Tuesday’s (28 February) compromise deal on the grounds that the draft text should have been brought to a vote, insisting the nine member states made up a “blocking minority”.

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