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Mar 28

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EU targets for 2030: reactions of the Polish MEPs

Yesterday the Commission presented its Green Paper in which it proposed targets concerning the share of energy from renewable sources and the reduction of the CO2 emissions by 2030. According to the document the EU should limit its CO2 emissions by 40% over the next 17 years and increase the share of energy from renewable sources to 30%.

The reaction of the Members of the European Parliament coming from Poland was not long in coming. According to Lena Kolarska-Bobińska from the Civic Platform governing in Poland the adoption of such goals is doubtful due to the economic crisis. Mrs. Kolarska-Bobińska seems to have failed to realize, that the economic crisis led to the reduction of the CO2 emissions which is one of the reasons for the fall in the prices of carbon. The 40% goal is necessary to make long-term planning in low-carbon sources of energy and energy efficiency profitable. Further Mrs. Kolarska-Bobińska stressed that Poland would (again) veto this proposal and would in this case be supported by a number of other countries. Well…. good luck! Three times over the last two years Poland was left alone in vetoing the proposals of the European Commission. Nonetheless Polish government still purports that it is right in blocking a more ambitious European energy and climate policy. As mentioned by the former Polish Minister of Economy Waldemar Pawlak: “Although we are alone, we know we are right””.

In her opposition to a more ambitious renewable energy and climate policy Mrs. Kolarska-Bobińska is supported by another MEP but from the radical conservative Law and Justice Party, Mr. Konrad Szymański. According to him a target over 20% would block the “reindustrialization” of the European economy…. Interesting… I didn’t really notice that European Union was „deindustrialized”. In 2011 there were almost 1,2 Million people working in the renewable energy sector in the EU, more than half of that working in the wind and solar energy sector, industry that was non-existing just two decades ago (EurObserv’er 2012, p 170). EU is home to the largest exporters of wind turbines: Vestas (until 2012 the largest global producer of wind turbines), Siemens, Enercon, Iberdrola, etc. Well, “deindustrialization” looks slightly different….

Mr. Szymański also expressed hope, that the future targets will be distributed between member countries in a “fair way” because Poland “doesn’t have large renewable energy potential”…. Maybe Mr.  Szymański spent too much time in Brussels recently, but to my knowledge the wind is still blowing and the sun is still shining in Poland. At least as strongly as in Germany. But he is partly right: Polish potential in developing renewable sources of energy is limited by the lacking renewable energy industry. For that, however, he and his party are mostly to blame. The Law and Justice-led government (2005-2007), just as the current one led by the Civic Platform,  failed to develop a stable legal framework that would encourage investors in building plants and factories producing wind turbines and solar panels. Instead half of the money spent on the support of “green” electricity were given to incumbent energy companies rewarding them for burning imported biomass.

Polish MEPs continue to blame others (mainly the EU) for own mistakes. At the same time they brag about the 30% reduction of the CO2 emissions in Poland in the early 1990s with which they had nothing to do. Whether this will work to get into the European Parliament in 2014 remains to be seen.

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