Poland To Take EU To Court Over Global Warming Rules


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Poland threatened to sue the European Union (EU) over its global warming regulations, according to documents seen by Reuters.

An EU deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, fulfilling its pledge to the United Nations, poses problems for EU member-state Poland. Reducing emissions may harm Poland’s coal industry — a critical industry for the country.

Poland is challenging the legal basis for the EU’s global warming rules, and is determined to bring the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), though an unnamed source doesn’t think Poland will go that far.

“[T]o challenge the legal basis (of EU climate policy) is extreme even for Poland,” an anonymous EU official told Reuters.

EU global warming rules require unanimous consent from all 28 member-nations, meaning that Poland could block them. Poland repeatedly opposed EU measures to combat global warming and has fought the bloc on coal subsidies.

If passed, the EU resolution mandates that 15 percent of Poland’s energy come from “green” sources by 2020. Poland presently generates nearly 90 percent of its electricity from coal power, making it the second largest coal consumer in Europe. Green energy accounts for less than 5 percent of energy production in 2012.

Poland is currently governed by the conservative and anti-EU Law & Justice party, the first political party to win enough seats in parliament to govern alone since the Soviet Union collapsed. Poland does not have a single member of a 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. It has even advocated for a moratorium on the construction of new wind power turbines and supports dismantling of any wind plant within three kilometers of a residential area.

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

The EU has committed by 2030 to reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent and increase “green” energy production to 27 percent of energy consumption. 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.

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