• Polish cabinet adopts resolution against more ambitious goals
  • Current climate rules already require huge effort, Poland says

Poland adopted a resolution against stepping up European Union climate ambitions, hardening its opposition to stricter emission policies before negotiations about how the bloc’s 28 member states should share the burden of cutting pollution in the next decade.

The Law and Justice government, which took power after general elections in October, said current EU greenhouse-gas reduction goals already require “huge investment effort” from Poland to modernize its energy sector. Europe has a binding target of lowering emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels. National leaders in the European Council agreed in October 2014 to a 40 percent cut by 2030, an aim that yet needs to be translated into detailed legislation.

The resolution by Poland, which relies on coal for more than 80 percent of its electricity production, comes after EU nations including Germany and Luxembourg called earlier this month for more ambition following a global climate deal in Paris in December. The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, stopped short of recommending an immediate move to stricter targets for 2030, saying instead that member states should now focus on enacting measures to reach existing goals.

“Some member states are bringing forward proposal on the EU forum to toughen European climate policy goals and deepen the greenhouse-gas reduction levels,” the Polish government said in a statement. “The government strongly advocates that the EU concentrate on implementing climate commitments already approved by the European Council.”

Carbon Discharges

The commission is due to present around the middle of this year a draft law detailing how to distribute the burden of emission cuts among member states in sectors not covered by the emissions trading system, such as transportation and agriculture. It proposed last year legislation to adjust the cap-and-trade program, which covers around 45 percent of EU carbon discharges and imposes pollution caps on around 12,000 installations owned by utilities and manufacturers as well as airlines.

Poland, where forests cover almost 30 percent of its territory, wants the EU to take into account the sector in its 2030 climate laws. Under the Paris deal, almost 200 nations agreed to reduce pollution as soon as possible to reach a balance between anthropogenic emissions and removals by "sinks" like forests that absorb greenhouse gases.

The agreement calls for nations to work toward capping global temperature increases since pre-industrial times to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The deal doesn’t impose any concrete ways to cut emissions on its signatories, the government said in the statement, adding that it can’t accept a situation where EU climate policy mechanisms would endanger economic security or harm competitiveness of individual member states.

Draft EU laws to implement climate policies need qualified majority support from member states and majority backing from the European Parliament to enter into force. Legislative work on such proposals can take more than two years. A decision to change emission-reduction targets requires unanimous support by heads of state.

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