Ecologists protest against coal dependency in Poland

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-14 22:57:16|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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WARSAW, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Massive black banners with the writing "Poland without coal 2030" were hung on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Polish governing party Law and Justice (PiS) and opposition Civic Platform (PO) by Greenpeace activists.

"PiS and PO politicians ignore the voice of science, of young people protesting across the country in the climate strikes, and of their own voters," Greenpeace Poland campaigner Pawel Szypulski said in a media statement.

Poland is one of the countries most committed to coal in the European Union (EU). Coal makes up about half of the country's energy needs and the government's draft energy policy, which is currently under discussion, envisages that coal will continue to cover 60 percent of electricity needs (compared to 80 percent today) in 2030.

In early May, Poland, together with Germany and Italy, snubbed an effort by many European countries to intensify EU climate efforts and commit to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions "by 2050 at the latest" .

At the same time, in order to adhere to the recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), all EU countries should phase out coal by 2030, Greenpeace Poland explains. Opinion polls show that 76 percent of Poles support a coal exit by 2030.

Coal burning in home furnaces is also one of the main causes of smog in Poland.

Yet major political parties have so far favoured coal dependency. The PiS government has been a staunch defender of the coal industry, which it argues helps preserve jobs and safeguards the country's energy security. While in power before PiS, PO had a similar agenda.

At the moment, the only party to argue for a coal phaseout in the run-up to elections to the European Parliament are newly formed Wiosna (Spring). The leader of Wiosna, Robert Biedron, promised a coal phaseout by 2035 when his party launched earlier this year.

"Even a cautious institution like the International Energy Agency argues that a European coal phase out -- therefore a Polish one too -- is possible by 2030. The IPCC report shows this is indispensable. Politicians who claim the opposite are merely escaping into political conformism and cowardice," Marek Jozefiak, Greenpeace campaigner, said in the statement.