Limping to Paris
Poland Ready to Throw Wrench In Climate Talks

The Polish opposition party that’s looking likely to win parliamentary elections this October is coming out with rhetoric that will worry delegates around the world preparing for this year’s climate summit in Paris. The Law and Justice party is leading in the polls ahead of voting on October 25, and it’s coming out with some strong words for the quest to sign a binding international treaty addressing climate change. Reuters reports:

Poland has long argued for special dispensation under EU emissions rules because it generates its electricity mainly from highly polluting coal. This will not change if PiS wins elections in October, a member of the party told Reuters.

“Any binding stance that would be accepted at the conference in Paris will be harmful to Poland, so a failure of the summit is in Poland’s interest,” parliamentarian Piotr Naimski said.

This isn’t just a problem for climate talks at the international level, either. Polish politicians hoping to thwart a binding Global Climate Treaty in December will try to use such a failure to wiggle out of EU emissions targets:

“If there is no agreement at the global level, there will be no reason for the current EU regulations on CO2 emission reductions to be maintained. This should mean that they will renegotiable,” Naimski said.

Poland relies heavily on coal, which makes it an outlier in most EU talks about the latest green effort. It’s no surprise, then, that it looks to play the role of spoiler when these discussions are elevated to an international level. You can be sure that they aren’t the only country keen on keeping their cheaper, dirtier power plants running. India has repeatedly asserted its need to grow its economy unrestrained by emissions reduction targets.

When the issue of a binding GCT has been raised, we’ve often pointed to the near impossibility of such a treaty being ratified by the U.S. Senate as reason enough for that particular goal being unachievable. Poland reminds us that there are many other nations unwilling to sign on to such an agreement. Without any binding clauses or enforcement mechanisms, whatever is agreed upon in Paris will become little more than the eco-version of the Kellogg-Briand pact.

Negotiators in France will hope to tamp down on global emissions, but the way things are shaping up it looks like all they’ll end up producing is a lot of hot air.

Features Icon
show comments
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service