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Poland believes coronavirus to hinder the EU climate efforts

Following the Czech Republic, also Poland expressed its concerns over the achievement of the European climate targets, due to the impact the coronavirus epidemic is having on the economy.

Last year the European Commission unveiled the European Green Deal, mobilising around one trillion euros in the framework of a ten-year plan to reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50 per cent compared with 1990. Furthermore, earlier this month, the Commission proposed a new legislation that would bind member states to the target of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Poland, which relies on coal for 80 per cent of its electricity, is the only EU nation that has yet to commit to the bloc’s target. Last December, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addressed journalists saying that he had secured an exemption for Poland on the 2050 target. The country was waiting for more generous commitments of EU funds to move away from fossil fuels.

“Poland will be reaching climate neutrality at its own pace,” Mr Morawiecki had said.

Today, Poland is not alone anymore in this regard. Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš said that European countries should focus their attention on coping with the epidemic crisis and abandon the objectives of reaching climate neutrality. A comment that came with no surprise, as Mr Babiš had already stated many times the importance of coal and nuclear for the Czech Republic, even if “in breach of European law.”

While EU Member States expected Poland to fully commit to the EU Green Deal by June, the coronavirus epidemic could further delay such hopes.

Photo: Prime Minister’s official website

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