Poland Ready For Showdown With EU Over Climate Change As Trump Sends 74,000 Tonnes Of Coal

  • Date: 17/11/17
  • Daily Express

Poland is on a collision course with EU chiefs over its continued heavy use of fossil fuels, as the country prepares to receive its first shipment of US coal.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło has warned MEPs she will “throw it back at them” if they criticise her nation’s carbon consumption at next month’s EU summit.

And that could set the scene for more stand-offs next year, when Poland hosts the next round of UN climate talks.

The EU is playing a leading role in the Paris climate accord, which aims to radically cut global carbon emissions.

But Poland, the EU’s biggest coal burning nation, is at odds with Brussels over the targets.

Beata Szydło

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło is a fossil fuel advocate whose father was a miner

The ruling Law and Justice party are unapologetically pro-mining, a belief shared by US President Donald Trump, who visited the country in the summer and said: “Whenever you need energy, just give us a call.”

Poland has taken the President – who wants to exit the Paris agreement – at his word. This week The Navios Helios, a vessel carrying a 73,616 tonne coal shipment for Weglokoks from Baltimore, is expected to enter the harbour in Gdansk.

The new trade arrangement is mutually beneficial – Poland has to meet a shortfall left by the failure of national mining giant PGG to achieve its production targets, while US miners are relying on export growth as power utilities at home switch to cheaper, cleaner alternatives.

POland

Poland is the biggest coal burning member of the EU

Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzewski rejected any suggestion of a fuel crisis due to the problems at PGG, even though smaller traders have often queued for coal in recent weeks.

He told reporters: “A psychosis related to coal shortages has appeared on the market.

“I can say that this winter no one will be cold in their homes because of a lack of coal.”

He declined to comment on the US import.

Meanwhile, EU ministers are meeting in Bonn today, where they are expected to tell Poland to “do more” on climate change – particularly by ratifying the Doha amendment, the second stage of the Kyoto Protocol, predecessor of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Donald Trump promised to help Poland with coal shortages
Ironically, next year’s climate conference will be held in the southern city of Katowice – the centre of the coal-producing Silesia region and PGG’s home.

The timing of Warsaw’s new-found fondness for American coal will be a concern to Brussels and the UN as a whole.

Polish imports of US coal have already leapt more than 500 per cent in the first half of this year, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

And in promoting a national coal industry and trying to preserve jobs in traditional heavy industries, Poland has far more in common with President Trump than almost any other EU member.

However, while Trump has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris agreement, Warsaw is staying in.

The government of Silesian-born miner’s daughter Szydlo has opposed EU policies to reduce carbon emissions as they set binding targets, but backs the Paris deal as it did not impose specific obligations on signatories.

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