Tag: Poland

Poles Apart

 

Poland is an extraordinary country. It has overcome many years of oppression and poverty to transform itself into a significant economic powerhouse and a proactive European player on diplomacy.

But it appears the Polish government is willing to risk their status as rising international star, and allow its politics to be captured by high carbon incumbents.

If the Polish government continues to pursue this position, it is quite likely that the EU will lose patience, and a diplomatic backlash is quite possible. This will result in Poland losing its say to shape the future of Europe’s energy regime, widening the gap between its ageing and inefficient energy infrastructure and a more dynamic, smarter and innovative power system across other EU countries.

ECO wonders if the Polish government is kicking itself in deciding to put their names forward for the Presidency of COP19 later on this year. Warsaw will not be a Poznan. Back in 2008, the Poles were still only agitators as opposed to today’s outright blockers of the EU’s energy and climate ambitions. Poznan was a low-key COP, unlike Warsaw, which should agree on the outlines of an Equity Reference Framework for the post-2020 deal; outline further efforts on public finance (with the engagement of Finance Ministers); close the pre-2020 mitigation gap; affirm the political significance of the Loss and Damage debate and set in place a series of processes to deliver a 2015 agreement.

Warsaw will be a high profile event. But Poland’s diplomatic strategy is flawed – they are invisible, and there is an emerging disquiet amongst many Parties and observers if they were the right choice. Among those are established voices such as Raul Estrada-Oyuela, a legend to those of us in the climate and diplomatic arena, who unforgettably locked delegates in the room in Kyoto to hammer out the subsequent protocol, who calls Poland’s ability to host such an important event into question, based on the Polish SBI chair’s failure to resolve this issue. (Link to Estrada’s letter here http://bit.ly/estrada-oyuela)

What is needed from the Polish government is not just to be a rising star, but a sophisticated diplomatic actor that understands how to build consensus around ambitious action climate change. An actor who has a more mature and deeper understanding of its national interest. An actor who understands that a reliance on coal undermines the long term prosperity of its own people, and recognises that modernising its economy is essential if it is to compete in a globalised world.   Instead, what we have is a government that plans to build new coal fired power plants and open new lignite reserves, which recent studies state have the worst implications upon health within the EU, and that also displace 20,000 people.  Such aggressive coal expansion, and its persistent objections to greater European ambition, cannot be reconciled with its desire to be an international player in the run up to 2015.

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QATAR PRESIDENCY'S LACK OF LEADERSHIP AND EU'S DILLY-DALLYING ON HOT AIR TURNS INTO FOSSILS

 

The First Place Fossil goes to the [EU]. The EU receives a bracketed Fossil because we still have hope that the EU will stop being bullied by Poland and stand up for full cancellation of all hot air at the end of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Before Durban, the EU talked about the importance of closing the gap. On Kyoto it said it can commit to a second commitment period, on the condition that there's a roadmap where the major emitters engage in a broader framework and where Kyoto rules are improved to ensure environmental integrity, specifically referring to the AAU surplus. However, the EU is still dilly-dallying. We need a strong EU position right now. If the EU fails to come to a sensible and joint position on the surplus, it will fail to be seen as serious in the ADP discussions to come. A political declaration is no option and a solution has to include a full cancellation of all surplus at the end of the second commitment period.

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Poland for a fossilized position on the hot air issue. They stubbornly insist on full carry-over and generous use in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol while vehemently opposing cancellation of any hot air at the end of the that period. Poland’s Environment Minister even had the audacity to say in an recent DPA interview that Poland wants to keep their hot air because they believe they will be able to use it in a new agreement, post-2020. Note to the Polish delegation: defending your own interest does not build any confidence in you as the next COP president!

The Third Place Fossil goes to the COP18 Presidency of Qatar for their lack of leadership in pushing Ministers during roundtable discussions towards ambition in the ADP. As the hosts of this COP, the Presidency is required to facilitate a successful agreement to inject urgency in the talks for progress towards an ambitious legally binding deal.


Photo Credit: IndyACT

 

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A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.

A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

Fossil of the Day - Day 4 of COP18 in Doha, Qatar

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.


Photo Credit: Miljømagasinet Putsj/Vilde Blix Huseby

Finance and EU rifts could threaten COP19 progress

 

    

[Doha – Qatar] – November  28, 2012 – Half way through the first week of the major climate talks of the year a number of worrying fault lines  have emerged which have the potential to derail the Doha negotiations if they are not resolved, NGO experts warned. 

The Polish Government – who will today be announced as host of next year's major climate talks - is playing a unique blocking role towards further climate action in Europe which could destabilise the climate talks in Doha.

While other potential flash points have emerged around the successful closure of the LCA track and climate finance.

Anja Kollmuss, from Carbon Market Watch, said the Polish Government was trying to win respect as a climate leader by hosting the COP19 next year, but the truth was they were singlehandedly preventing the European Union from raising its emissions reduction target to 30 per cent and from finalising a long term strategy to deal with climate change.

“The President of the climate talks needs to be able negotiate deals between parties and seal deals but the Polish government has shown it is not capable of this as it has repeatedly been against the wishes of the other 26 EU member states,” she said.

But the Polish Government is also blocking progress in the negotiations in Doha by refusing to agree to the tightening of the rules around pollution permits in the second commitment period of the only legally binding climate deal we have, the Kyoto Protocol.

The Polish Government wants to use pollution permits it did not spend in the first commitment period of Kyoto because it chose a target that was already met several times over, but allowing this would make a joke of Warsaw's commitment to the treaty.

Also under a cloud is the question of whether rich countries will scale up their funding of climate action to developing countries to reach the $100 billion commitment by 2020 and to capitalise the now empty Green Climate Fund. 


Oxfam International's Tim Gore said despite economic problems facing many rich countries there were many options still available to them to fund climate action, such as a Financial Transactions Tax (due to be implemented in 12 EU countries next year) or a fair carbon change on the emissions from international aviation and shipping.

“Failure to do this by next week, could see this COP start to unravel,” Gore said.

Mohamed Adow, from Christian Aid, said at this early stage of the talks countries were already adopting unhelpful negotiation tactics around the successful closure of the longterm cooperative action (LCA) track which came out of Bali in 2007 where finance was a key issue.


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What’s wrong with Poland?

The Polish government lives in the past. Because of that it believes Poland should be treated as a special case forever. It fails to acknowledge that a lot has changed in the country since the 1990s. Poland is a developed country now. But instead of strengthening Poland’s climate policies to further enhance competitiveness, its government blocks any action on climate change and threatens the country’s future.

So far, Poland has done everything it can to be the lone bad guy in the EU. Poland already stood alone thrice in opposing European efforts to take more ambitious climate action for  2020 and beyond. ECO understands that Poland wants to be seen as a strong EU country. But domestically, the Polish authorities have done everything but be an equal partner, such as failing to fully enforce important EU laws. And to top its opposition to stronger action by the EU, it plans to build new coal and nuclear power plants, open new lignite mines and extract shale gas. This when most European countries are transitioning to a low-carbon economy based on renewables and energy efficiency.
 
At the UNFCCC negotiations the Polish government has been blocking the EU from finding a constructive, unified position to address the 13 billion AAU surplus. It is unashamedly claiming a full carry-over of AAUs to CP2 as a price to agreeing to continue into it. The Polish government does not even seem to mind aligning itself with Russia on this issue. ECO would like to ask the Polish government why it insists on full carry over, since AAUs will have zero value in CP2 given there will be no demand because of the low level of ambition by developed countries. Is Poland really willing to derail the international negotiations over this?
 
Poland wants to host COP19. But is it responsible enough to do so? Hosting a COP comes with many political responsibilities, including being able to constructively engage in finding solutions. It is not just about calling on others to act, it is about showing leadership and committing oneself to more ambitious action. Poland has yet to show the world that it is able to do so. Instead of vetoing, the Polish government has to learn the art of compromise. Poland, are you ready?
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NGO experts to brief on key developments at COP18


 

 

 

 

Media Advisory – Webcast Notice

[Doha – Qatar] – November 27, 2012 –  International experts from NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network (CAN) - a network of more than 700 organisations from over 90 countries – will brief the media on the latest developments in the climate negotiations at Doha, Qatar, tomorrow.

Experts will detail Poland's unique role in blocking climate action in Europe and the importance of rich countries putting money in the bank here at Doha as part of an adequate climate finance package as well as any breaking developments at COP18.

The briefing takes place in Press Conference Room 2 in the Qatari National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday 28 November, at 11.30am local time (8.30am GMT). It will be webcast live.

NGO experts on the panel will be Anja Kollmuss from Carbon Market Watch and Tim Gore from Oxfam International.

·      What: Briefing on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Doha covering topics including Poland's role in blocking EU climate action.

·      Where: Press Conference Room 2, QNCC, Doha, Qatar

·      Webcast Live at: http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop18/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=231

·      When: 11.30pm local Doha time, Wednesday 28 November, 2012

·      Who: NGO experts on UNFCCC negotiations

Contacts

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.

 

Photo Credit: Issam Abdallah 

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