Poland under increasing pressure to speed up coal phase-out

Phasing out coal is a major part of the EU’s climate change initiative. But, according to a report by Climate Action Europe and Sandbag, eleven EU countries are currently not making plans to stop using coal; or if they are, their efforts are extremely limited.

Furthermore, only eight EU countries were found to have clear plans to stop using coal. Another two had plans, but weren’t able to provide an exact date for when it will happen.

Poland scored lowest in the analysis, and in light of this, environmental activists are calling for increased pressure on the Polish government to clarify what their plans are for phasing out coal by 2030, as per the EU’s targets.

According to the WHO, 33 of the 50 most heavily polluted cities in Europe are in Poland. The use of coal has been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths every year in Poland.

Last year, the ECJ announced that Poland will be liable for EU fines if it doesn’t take steps to comply with EU pollution laws. It also said that Poland had consistently failed to take action on pollution and to improve air quality, as it has been consistently in breach of the regulations.

If the EU is to meet its objectives of the Paris Agreement, coal needs to be phased out as quickly as possible. For some regions in Europe, it will mean eliminating coal altogether by 2030 at the latest.

Under the current plans, by 2030, most of Europe’s coal use will be in six member states: Germany, Czechia, Poland, Romania, Greece, and Bulgaria – although Germany is predicted see the sharpest fall between now and 2030.

CAN Europe and Sandbag, the two environmental groups which co-authored the study said: “Our analysis shows that the EU is currently set to miss this goal by a wide margin.”

“Many of the member states with no plans to move away from coal are already benefiting from various EU energy transition support schemes and are asking for increased funding.”

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