EU Leaders Set for Fight Over Climate as Poland Seeks More Cash
(Bloomberg) - Moving the European Union to a tougher climate target for the next decade will require more financial support for regions that are dependent on fossil fuels, Poland said.
Poland's stance underscores the challenge of moving talks forward during an economic crisis on an environmentally friendly overhaul that affects everything from transportation to agriculture. Next week, EU heads of state and government will discuss lowering the emissions reduction target for 2030 to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels. The current goal is a 40% cut.
For coal-dependent Poland, it is not only the amount of EU funding for the green transition that is insufficient. She also wants more data on how the stricter target will affect the economies of each Member State. This request could delay a final decision currently foreseen in December after a debate this month. The heads of state and government of the EU vote unanimously.
"The October summit can be very important in terms of principles, even if I don't expect it to go beyond the I and the T," said Polish Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka on Friday by phone. "Let's make sure we keep the question marks to a minimum so that we understand where we are going."
Under the stricter climate target for 2030, European automakers would have to introduce stricter pollution standards, with an additional 350 billion euros per year for investments in production and infrastructure. Agriculture needs to become greener and companies in the EU carbon market need to cut emissions faster.
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To become binding, a revised target needs to be agreed between EU governments and the European Parliament after the bloc leaders get political approval. While the majority of Member States support the 55% target proposed by the Commission, some countries are in favor of an even lower target. The EU Parliament wants an increase to 60%.
Poland argues that Europe needs to ensure a comprehensive framework for funding a green transition in order to increase its ambitions. It was to be financed from revenues from the bloc's emissions trading system, its economic stimulus program, the next EU budget and a levy on the import of emission-intensive products. The Just Transition Fund, which will support clean change in the hardest hit regions, should be topped up from the currently planned € 17.5 billion, Kurtyka said.
Poland is the only EU country that has refused to achieve climate neutrality at the national level by 2050. At a summit last December, it backed an EU-wide target of achieving net zero emissions by mid-century and said it needed more time to transform. It remains to be seen whether the government in Warsaw will change its stance.
"Poland will contribute to the EU's climate neutrality target for 2050, but as we agreed at a previous summit, we have a different starting point and a longer path," said Kurtyka. “For a country like Poland, it takes more effort and more support. Otherwise the poorest have to pay the bill. "
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