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Poland tells EU leaders that meeting climate rules makes the ‘poor, poorer.’


Poland tells leaders that meeting EU climate rules makes the ‘poor, poorer.’

The new era of EU climate politics looks a lot like the old one, with Poland standing almost alone at Tuesday’s European Council, insisting that current emissions rules are geared toward the rich.

Other EU leaders were reluctant to tangle with the Poles and their allies, agreeing on a bland policy-free final statement rather than engaging with Warsaw’s demands for a greater flow of money and for rich countries to be responsible for a bigger share of the bloc’s 2030 emissions cuts.

The EU has agreed to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and to become climate neutral by mid-century, and now there’s a fierce scrap over how those often painful reductions should be apportioned.

“You cannot make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. It is a question of fairness,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told fellow leaders, according to an official briefed on the conversation, while brandishing a chart he said showed that the bloc’s carbon pricing system unfairly disadvantages Eastern and Southern Europe.

The European Commission is currently drafting a major policy package, called Fit for 55, that’s due for release in mid-July. It will redraft a dozen major legislative areas that govern European pollution. 

The leaders’ statement provided little guidance for the Commission, but Council President Charles Michel interpreted that as a vote of confidence and a sign there was a “widely shared commitment to move towards solutions” for lowering emissions.

“We have affirmed our common goals, which are ambitious,” he said.

But behind closed doors, the divisions over specific policies were stark.

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