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Polish President: After Paris, EU Should Water Down Its CO2 Pledge


The president of coal-reliant Poland urged the European Union on Friday to revise its commitment to cut CO2 emissions, saying its implementation will be costly.

President Andrzej Duda had already vetoed an amendment to the Kyoto protocol on emissions last month as a sign of Poland taking a tougher stance in defending its ailing coal sector – a highly polluting one, but central to its energy policy.

“If the EU takes on such far-reaching commitments when it comes to limiting emissions, then it is clear that it will bear great costs,” Duda said.

“Unfortunately… one of the greatest costs will be taken on by Poland. In my opinion, these commitments need revision.”

Coal has become a focal point in Polish politics as local coal miners teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, hit by falling coal prices, overemployment and high costs.

Duda was elected in May, with the backing of the conservative and eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which won an outright parliamentary majority last month.

PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski called for a renegotiation of an EU climate deal agreed last year, saying Poland 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.

The emissions goal is also the basis of the EU position for the Paris climate change talks that start on Nov. 30. Poland is likely to meet stiff resistance from its EU partners if it attempts to reopen the climate deal.

“We are preparing instructions for these talks,” Poland’s new energy minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski said. “But we do have to get different conditions from the EU. Otherwise it’s the end of Polish economic growth.

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