Poland’s environment minister: nation against further cuts of gas emission levels at talks

WARSAW, Poland – Poland’s new environment minister said Wednesday he is against further cuts in carbon gas emissions, a key topic during climate talks next week in Paris.

Minister Jan Szyszko told a special parliament commission that it is “not very much in Poland’s interest to adopt any high reduction obligations” and that Poland will have its own position at the high-level talks during the U.N. climate conference that opens Monday. He did not specify the position, but hinted that Poland does not feel obliged to stick to the European Union guidelines because it signed the international climate protection agreements as a separate, non-EU country.

He said he wants to use the talks as a tool for “mitigating the negative effects of the climate package for Poland.” He did not specify how, but said the EU’s legislation on the matter is inconsistent and leaves room for negotiation.

“The climate package does not need to be harmful to Poland’s economy,” Szyszko told the environment commission.

He noted that Poland has already achieved a 30 per cent reduction in its carbon gas emissions, while maintaining one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe. The reduction was largely the result of closing a lot of Poland’s communist-era heavy industry.

Szyszko said he is not sure if other participants in the climate talks, especially major polluters like the U.S. or Russia, will be ready to accept new, ambitious goals of raising the emission cuts to 40 per cent.

Coal-rich Poland says it will continue to use its coal as its main energy source and major employer, but is also seeking new energy technologies that would reduce the emission of carbon gasses.