Row over coal and climate in Poland brews on day government sacks Environment Minister and COP19 President
(Pic: Oldag Caspar)
By Komila Nabiyeva in Warsaw
Polandâ€™s mining branch of the SolidarnoĹ›Ä‡Â trade union yesterday staged protests against UN climate talks next to the conference vicinity National Stadium in Warsaw.Â
Several dozen miners from Polandâ€™s industrial Silesia region protested â€śagainst what has been happening in the media since the start of the COP”.
There is a campaign against Polish coal — our biggest national treasureâ€”which gives us energy,â€ť chairman of the Polandâ€™s mining trade union SolidarnoĹ›Ä‡, uniting some 40,000 miners, Jaroslaw Grzesik said.
â€śCertain organizations and media are lying coal is killing people and destroying the environment. We came to show that there is a new technology that allows connecting coal industry with the environmentâ€ť, Grzesik added.
Grzesik said they were protesting against the European Union, which blocks â€śtransforming the coal industry.â€ť He said Poland could build new clean coal plants â€śthat would use less coal and emit 90% lessâ€ť.He added, â€śWe are told to build new plants based on Russian gas and imported nuclear power, whereas we have rich coal resourcesâ€ť.
Grzesik added that the union is not against renewable energy, â€śbut you have to tell the truth to the people that it is more expensive. If there are no coal power plants, we will have to pay five times more for our energyâ€ť.
The Polish Climate Coalition, an association of 23 environmental NGOs, criticized the protest.
â€śIt is true that 30 years ago, coal was the engine of the whole Polish economy. But now Poland is a net importer of coal. In 40 years we will not have coal resources left. If we continue with coal, we will have to import it. I do not know if the miners know about it,â€ť Ilona JÄ™drasik, Policy officer of the Polish Climate Coalition said.
â€śTo be energy-independent, we have to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency,â€ť JÄ™drasik added.