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Poland To Dig In Over Coal, Says Potential Energy Minister

Agnieszka Barteczko, Reuters

Poland’s new government will fight even harder in the European Union to win concessions for its coal-based industry, said Piotr Naimski, tipped to lead the country’s energy ministry following last Sunday’s parliamentary election.

Ninety percent of Poland’s energy is generated from the highly-polluting coal and Warsaw has long opposed an EU drive to curb carbon emissions.

But the conservative, eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which won outright parliamentary majority in Sunday’s vote, could take an even harder line than the outgoing centre-right government.

Naimski said the new PiS government would fight “any obstacles” that would prevent Warsaw from sticking to coal rather than developing renewable energy sources.

“It’s too early to present detailed plans regarding energy policy or coal mining restructuring, but I can certainly say that our goal will be to ensure that the Polish energy industry in the long term relies on commodities available in Poland,” Naimski, who was deputy economy minister responsible for energy in a 2005/07 PiS-led governmen, told Reuters.

“We will remove any obstacles that would make it difficult for us to achieve this goal.”

PiS wants to renegotiate EU climate policies that oblige Poland to cut CO2 emissions by moving away from coal and introducing more renewables, a move that will upset many of Poland’s European partners.

A more combative stance on coal from Poland is all but certain to complicate global talks due to start in Paris on Nov. 30 to seek a worldwide climate deal beyond 2020.

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