How Poland’s Landslide Election Could Wreck The EU’s Big Global Warming Plans

(REUTERS/Peter Andrews)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Poland’s election just threw a huge wrench into the European Union’s global warming plans.

The conservative and anti-EU Law & Justice party won 37.7 percent of the vote and will thus receive a projected 232 seats in the 460-member lower chamber. For the first time since democracy was restored in Poland, a political party has won enough seats in parliament to govern alone. It will also be the first time since 1989 that there will be no left-wing party in parliament.

Law & Justice generally opposes wind and solar energy and favors an energy policy that emphasizes tariffs targeted at Russian natural gas. The winning party has also advocated for a moratorium on the construction of new wind power and the dismantling of any wind plant within three kilometers of a residential area.

The European Union has committed by 2030 to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent and increase “green” energy production to 27 percent of energy consumption. Such commitments tend to increase energy prices, which effectively raises the price of everything. Due to these mandates, the cost of electricity for the average European is 57 percent higher than the cost of electricity for the average Pole. Both the United States and Poland pay about the same amount for electricity.

Another binding European Union resolution stipulates that 15 percent of Poland’s energy must come from “green” sources by 2020, which could increase costs. However, Poland presently generates nearly 90 percent of its electricity from coal power, making it the second largest coal consumer in Europe. Poland’s “green” energy sources accounted for less than 5 percent of energy production in 2012.

Additionally, Poland has previously opposed European Union measures to combat global warming and has fought the EU on coal subsidies in the past.

Environmental groups like Greenpeace have repeatedly criticized Law & Justices’ energy policy, claiming that the country’s CO2 emissions reductions are insufficiently ambitious.

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