04 November 2021

Poland backtracks on COP26 coal exit pledge

Glasgow, 4 November 2021 – Polish Climate and Environment minister Anna Moskwa has confirmed that Poland intends to phase out coal only in 2049, contradicting her government’s commitment to the COP26 Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement just hours after signing it.

With the ink of her signature not even dry on today’s 2030’s coal phase out commitment at COP26, Polish minister Anna Moskwa has underscored that her government cannot be trusted to sign a postcard, let alone a responsible climate pledge,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director. “With a host of countries like Ukraine and Vietnam committing to ambitious coal phase outs, the Polish government could be charting a responsible path forward in the spirit of joint global climate action. Instead, it has chosen to publicly isolate itself, insisting on a timeline where it has to go to extraordinary lengths to keep coal alive to 2049, given the dire economics of coal in Europe. As a major first-world economy and OECD country, Poland has a tremendous opportunity to transition from coal to renewable energy, and one way or another reality will lead to a 2030 exit.

ENDS

Contacts:

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185

Notes:

  1. Polish Minister for Climate and Environment Anna Moskwa confirms the Polish government’s intention to phase out coal in 2049: https://twitter.com/moskwa_anna/status/1456268737011613703 
  2. The Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement https://ukcop26.org/global-coal-to-clean-power-transition-statement/. Signed by the Polish government, this statement includes a commitment to “…  achieve a transition away from unabated coal power generation in the 2030s (or as soon as possible thereafter) for major economies and in the 2040s (or as soon as possible thereafter) globally, consistent with our climate targets and the Paris Agreement.”. Poland, an OECD country and member of the EU and with it of G20, is the 23rd biggest global economy. Nevertheless, only hours after the news, the press spokesman of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Aleksander Brzózka, clarified they consider Poland to fall under the 2040s and interpret “major economies” as countries in G20, after which Minister Moskwa confirmed Poland’s plan to exit coal by 2049. Part of the G20 countries is also the EU, while the group consists of developed and developing/emerging countries who need to meet different coal exit timelines to be in line with Paris Agreement. Global developed countries and major economies like Poland need to exit by 2030.
  3. Poland signing the Paris Agreement and the EU’s 55 percent emissions reduction commitment means that it will have to almost completely end coal use by 2030, not 2049 as it intends: https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/eu-climate-target-55-would-mean-near-exit-coal-2030-experts and https://ember-climate.org/commentary/2021/03/15/pep2040/ 
  4. Overview of national coal phase out commitments: https://beyond-coal.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Briefing-Overview-of-National-Coal-Phase-out-Commitments-2-November-2021.pdf
  5. European countries already coal-free: Belgium (2016), Austria (2020), Sweden (2020).
  6. European countries with a coal phase-out by 2025: Portugal (end-2021), France (2022), UK (2024), Hungary (2025), Italy (2025), Ireland (2025), Greece (2025).
  7. European countries with a phase-out by 2030: North Macedonia (2027) Denmark (2028), Finland (mid-2029), Netherlands (end-2029), Slovakia (2030), Spain (2030).
  8. European countries with a phase-out after 2030: Germany (2038), Montenegro (2035), Croatia (2033), Romania (2032), Bulgaria (2038-40).
  9. Explore more data on the European coal phase out using the Europe Beyond Coal Coal Exit Tracker: https://beyond-coal.eu/coal-exit-tracker/
  10. Why Europe must phase-out coal by 2030 to respect the UN Paris climate agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C: https://climateanalytics.org/briefings/coal-phase-out/

About:
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

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