The Brief – Poland’s failure to think big

(EurActiv, 24 Jun 2019) “We don’t know what they’re playing at”. “It’s impossible to have a debate on this”. “We were ready to tear our hair out”. Those are just some of the diplomatic reactions to Poland’s blocking of a climate deal at last week’s Council summit.

Poland refused to support the idea of going climate neutral by 2050 on Thursday (20 June), baulking at the idea of carving an explicit deadline in the stone of Council conclusions.

It left many EU diplomats frustrated and at a loss, given that many of them thought that the convincing arguments had already been spelled out clearly. It was enough to convince 24 other countries, after all.

The climate plan’s main advocates have freely admitted that greening the economy will cost a lot but much has also been made of where the sources of funding are, how big the economic benefits of slashing emissions will be and the huge potential for job creation.

A look at some of the Polish media coverage of the summit though and you’ll see that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s unwillingness to cooperate with the vast majority was lauded as a great success.

One broadcaster even said Poland had been spared a Germany-led scheme to get even richer selling clean energy tech to eastern countries.

At first, that sounds like tin-foil hat, ‘Soros-is-behind-this’ conspiracy theorising. But there’s an element of truth to it: the 2050 plan is basically an investment strategy, whose goal is to save us from the very worst consequences of climate change.

We’re likely to get a taste of them this week during the heatwave and forest fires are already wreaking havoc at near-record pace.

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EurActiv, 24 Jun 2019: The Brief – Poland’s failure to think big