The COP host, Poland, earns today’s Fossil for undermining our chances to stay below a two degree global temperature increase by aggressively promoting coal. Coal is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and the main cause of the current climate crisis.

In a cynical attempt to extend the social license of coal, the Polish government is endorsing an International Coal and Climate Summit, "the coal industry’s most important event of the year". As a part of this initiative the Polish Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with World Coal Association, developed "The Warsaw Communiqué", a statement claiming “there is a misconception that the use of coal is incompatible with meeting the challenge of climate change”, contrary to the fact that coal combustion is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere (the manifesto will be presented at the Coal Summit). 

As the UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres said at the summit today, most of the known reserves of coal will have to stay in the ground if we are to secure a safe climate.

Also, today 27 scientists released a joint statement discrediting "high efficiency coal" promoted at the coal summit. The scientists confirm that the unabated burning of coal will make it impossible to secure a safe climate. According to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of proven fossil-fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we want to have any chance to stay below two degrees threshold.

Despite that Polish Prime Minister confirms that Poland "just as it was based on coal in the past, will be based on coal" in the future. Despite 80% of Poles thinking that climate change is a serious problem and the Polish government should do more to prevent it, the government is forecasting opening one of the world's biggest lignite reserves near Legnica, which would require 20,000 people to be relocated. A monster mine!

Poland could halve its coal demand, boost energy from renewable sources to over 25 per cent and create 100,000 jobs by 2030, but instead, the government plans to increase Poland's emission's even after 2020. 

In September, the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that his task is not to think about the future. He successfully turns his words into action destroying our future. All of this earns Poland today’s Fossil of the Day Award.

Ria Voorhaar
Communications Coordinator
Climate Action Network-International
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

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