Page 6 - Respond 2019 Magazine
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>     Feature

       Poland’s coal miners:

       ‘EU climate proposals terrify us’

       By Natalie Sauer for Climate Home News

       The host city of this year’s UN climate summit was keen to share a story of post-mining
       transformation, but the coal industry still holds sway

       An old mine shaft in Katowice looms over the glass buildings of the Silesian museum (Photo credit: Deposit Photos/darekkocurek)

       As Poland geared up to host this year’s UN climate summit, the   conference centre that will welcome up to 30,000 delegates in
       government was on a charm offensive.                 December.
       During two days in mid-September, brochures, videos, slides and   Yet for all the mine closures, Poland still overwhelmingly relies
       dark-suited representatives succeed one another, portraying   on coal, the cheapest and dirtiest of fossil fuels, for energy. In
       Katowice, the site of the talks, as a green success story.   2015, 81% of its electricity came from coal – and the industry
       Chaperoned by civil servants, journalists are whizzed around the   has a strong influence on policy. Many environmentalists are
       city in electric cars.                               gritting their teeth over the choice of a coal heartland to hold
                                                            key climate talks.
       At its industrial peak in the 1980s, the capital of Upper Silesia
       counted 14 active coal mines. That figure has fallen to two, while   Michał Kurtyka, president of the Cop24 summit, has no time for
       museums, concert halls and sport facilities have mushroomed   such criticism. “I suggest they [environmentalists] go to Katowice!
       on former mining sites – not to mention the spaceship-like   It’s a flourishing region in terms of economic activity, in terms of

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