Problematic Poland
Warsaw Tossing Wrench into EU’s Newest Climate Goals

Poland has always been an uneasy participant in the European Union’s green policies—the central European country’s economy relies heavily on carbon-intensive industries, and coal supplies up to 85 percent of its energy while employing some 100,000 people. When the Law and Justice party secured a solid victory in elections last October, the country’s politics shifted further towards brown-friendly policies, and its cabinet just sent a warning shot across the bow of the more eco-minded eurocrats in Brussels. Bloomberg reports:

Poland adopted a resolution against stepping up European Union climate ambitions, hardening its opposition to stricter emission policies before negotiations about how the bloc’s 28 member states should share the burden of cutting pollution in the next decade.

The Law and Justice government, which took power after general elections in October, said current EU greenhouse-gas reduction goals already require “huge investment effort” from Poland to modernize its energy sector. Europe has a binding target of lowering emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. National leaders in the European Council agreed in October 2014 to a 40 percent cut by 2030, an aim that yet needs to be translated into detailed legislation.

This resolution comes as other EU members move forward with a plan to tighten the EU’s climate commitments. Those goals were said to be knocked off the agenda of meetings in Brussels this week by the ongoing migrant crisis, but according to Reuters green target setting is back on the table. That’s not going to be well received by Warsaw, and in recent statement the Polish government recommended that Brussels ought to “concentrate on implementing climate commitments already approved by the European Council,” rather than toughening or deepening existing policies.

Consensus seems hard to find in the EU these days, and that’s clearly as true now as it was in the run-up to the Paris climate summit last December. Poland looks set to prove just how difficult it is to implement growth constricting green policies.

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