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27 October 2015 | by Gabor Chodkowski-Gyurics

Poland's president vetoes Kyoto protocol extension

Poland's president vetoes Kyoto protocol extension
Poland’s president Andrzej Duda vetoed the so-called Doha amendment to the Kyoto protocol on CO2 emissions on October 27, a day after conservative party Law and Order (PiS) won power on the back of promises that included protecting the country’s coal industry.

Kyoto Protocol, the world’s largest binding international emissions treaty, expired at the end of 2012. The Doha amendment to the protocol, agreed in 2012, established a goal of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, versus 1990 levels, by 2020. Poland, however, has long been seen as sceptical towards climate action, on the grounds it impairs its coal-based power sector and the economy as a whole.

Poland’s coal industry employs some 100,000 people and supplies over 85% of country’s electricity despite operating at loss in recent years, due to low prices of coal and poor efficiency of production.

Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the PiS party that won the elections on October 25, said earlier this month that his party wanted to build more coal plants and was ready for a fight with the EU over carbon targets.

"Binding Poland to an international agreement affecting the economy and with associated social costs should be preceded by a detailed analysis of the legal and economic impact. These effects have not been sufficiently explained," president Duda said in a statement, defending his decision.

Regardless of the future of Doha amendment ratification process, Poland is still bound by EU’s own 2020 climate package, covering the bloc’s Kyoto contributions.

While the presidential veto will not, in fact, have significant impact on Poland’s emission reductions, it might nevertheless have long-lasting repercussions, as rejecting the Doha clause will strip Poland of the ability to trade carbon emission allowances under the Kyoto protocol and could affect the upcoming United Nations’ climate conference in Paris, starting on November 30, which aims to seal a landmark climate change deal after more than two decades of negotiations.


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