Campaigners from the Push Europe campaign network held a protest outside the Polish Embassy on Saturday afternoon. They say Poland’s influential coal industry are lobbying the government to block EU climate laws.
Earlier in the day several hundred climate protesters had joined the TUC Anti-Austerity March in central London, calling for green growth. The coalition, calling themselves Climate Bloc, included Friends of the Earth, UK Tar Sands Network, Kick Nuclear, People and Planet and others. Assembling on the steps of St Pauls before joining the march with a message saying it’s possible to create growth while looking after the environment. The march concluded in Hyde Park, including speeches from Labour leader Ed Miliband and also a surprise visit from Greenpeace’s Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo, who was in London after having given a talk at the London School of Economics on Friday eve.
Reuters reported back in March on Poland’s repeating effort to block climate change deals. Push Europe coordinator Lucy Patterson said: ‘’In Poland, over 90% of energy is from old, outdated coal-powered plants. According to Polish ministers. coal is the country’s only domestic energy source – as if there is no sun or wind in Poland’’
Next week, European climate ministers will meet to discuss Europe’s position for the next round of the international climate talks which take place in Doha, Qatar from 26th November to 7th December. Push Europe suggests that Poland will yet again block an increase in the emissions reduction target. Current targets which read at a 20% reduction rate from 1990, reached by 2020, is currently well within target and there is strong support within several EU member states to raise that to 30%, something that Poland has previously been opposed to.
More than 90% of Poland’s electricity comes from coal, which is the most polluting and emissions intensive of fossil fuels. As Poland currently relies heavily on carbon intensive energy, they believe it will hurt their economy to switch to a low carbon economy, even though countries that are adopting shows that you can create rapid green growth.