Poland stokes dispute over net-zero emissions price and meaning

(EurActiv, 3 Oct 2019) Poland has once again insisted that going carbon-neutral by 2050 is not affordable, after its energy minister concluded that the idea is “a fantasy”. But new analysis claims that the Eastern European country could get the job done on time and on budget.

In June, Poland was among four countries to oppose a European Commission plan that aims to reduce emissions to a net-zero level by 2050. The Czech Republic, Estonia and Hungary also refused to sign up to a pact that requires unanimous agreement.

All four hold-outs have cited the costs of the energy transition as reasons for the delay, although European Council officials and diplomats from other countries still believe that an agreement will be reached at a summit in December.

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas announced on Thursday (3 October) that Estonia will now support the 2050 goal, while energy Commissioner candidate Kadri Simson said during her hearing that she will dedicate herself to it.

But on Tuesday (1 October), Polish Minister for Energy Krzysztof Tchorzewski said he treats it “as a fantasy when someone says that Poland is able to reach the zero-emission goal by 2050”.

The minister also said Poland alone will need up to €900 billion to build up its renewable energy capacity, take coal plants offline and clean up its building sector.

Commission analysts estimate it will take up to €575 billion every year for two decades for the bloc to reach the 2050 net-zero milestone collectively, although the EU executive also points to massive savings in avoided health and climate costs.

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EurActiv, 3 Oct 2019: Poland stokes dispute over net-zero emissions price and meaning