Poland is planning to set an end date for coal-fuelled power, marking a change to the government’s approach to climate change.
According to the country’s Secretary of State for Climate, Urszula Zielinska, the new government, which came to the fore after ending eight years of Law and Justice (PiS) party rule in October 2023, was increasing environmental efforts, including setting a phase-out date for coal power.
Zielinska told reporters in Brussels: “Only with an end date we can plan and only with an end date industry can plan, people can plan. So yes, absolutely, we will be looking to set an end date.”
Poland derives 70% of its power from coal despite increasing wind and solar generation in recent years. In September 2023, Poland was also given the green light by the International Atomic Energy Agency to construct nuclear power plants and will begin building the first plant at Pomerania in 2026.
The previous government’s agreement with trade unions to keep coal mining until 2049 has made it harder to phase-out the most CO₂-emitting fossil fuel. However, scientists have stressed that coal burning will have to be reduced drastically to avoid severe climate change, and UN secretary-general António Guterres has urged all countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to phase out coal by 2030.
Zielinska said the new government will work to reduce output from heavily polluting industries, while considering the impact this may have on workers and communities.
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“It is all under revision and with a view to step up the efforts, but also to secure the people who may be most impacted, the industries as well, to make sure that the industries are really smoothly transitioned into new green branches,” she said.
This marks a change in attitude in Polish Government, which took Brussels to court last year in an attempt to cancel EU climate policies including a 2035 ban on new CO₂-emitting cars.
In December, think tank Instrat predicted that renewable sources could account for as much as 92% of energy production in Poland by 2040, given the new administration’s more favourable stance towards the energy transition.