Poland agrees to shut coal mines by 2049

(EurActiv, 26 Sep 2020) Poland moved closer to ending its heavy reliance on coal Friday (25 September) as the government and miners’ unions agreed a landmark plan to phase out mines by 2049.

The agreement puts Poland on track to meeting European Union climate targets.

Warsaw had previously rejected the existing EU target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, arguing it needed more time to make the transition.

It also expressed concern last week over a proposal by EU chief Ursula von der Leyen to raise the bloc’s 2030 target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from 40 to 55%.

Dependant on coal for 80% of its power needs, Poland ranks among the EU members most reliant on the fossil fuel and there are still 80,000 coal miners who fear for their livelihoods.

But their unions agreed to a government plan that would see the coal sector survive on subsidies until 2049, when the last mine would be shut.

“We’ve signed the liquidation of one of the most important industries in the history of the Polish Republic,” Dominik Kolorz, the head of the coal miners’ Solidarity union, told reporters in the southern Polish coal hub of Katowice.

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EurActiv, 26 Sep 2020: Poland agrees to shut coal mines by 2049