Government of 'Coal-land' must prioritise climate change

Campaigners gathered today (18th November) outside the Polish Consulate in Edinburgh, to highlight concern about the Polish Government’s commitment to coal at the expense of the climate.

The event took place as UN delegates meet in Warsaw for the global climate negotiations.  It also coincides with an international coal conference, hosted by the Polish Government, which campaigners see as an inappropriate clash. 

Poland is a significant blocker of increased action on climate change at an EU level.  It is almost completely reliant on highly-polluting coal for its energy needs.

Tom Ballantine, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), said:

“The Polish Government is increasingly isolated in its position on climate change. Countries across the world, including Scotland, are recognising the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions urgently and are taking action to do so.

“The current UN talks in Warsaw are an important step to agreeing a new global agreement on climate change to replace the Kyoto Protocol. We call on the Polish Government to ditch its commitment to coal and play its fair part in avoiding climate catastrophe.

“Much of the negotiations in Warsaw will be focus on climate finance.  It is crucial that developed countries provide finance to help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change now.  They must also prevent further climate change by reducing emission levels.”

Anna Chworow, a member of the Polish community in Scotland who took part in today’s event, said:

“As a Pole living in Scotland, I am proud to live in a country which takes climate change seriously.  Scotland was one of the first countries to commit to stretching climate change laws.

“I would like to see Poland show greater leadership on climate change, and commit to urgently reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The Polish Government needs to lead the international climate process effectively and not allow the distraction of today’s coal conference to undermine confidence in the climate talks.”

Ends

For further information contact: Gail Wilson at Stop Climate Chaos Scotland on 0131 243 2701.

Notes to Editors:

1.     The Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) coalition is the largest coalition ever formed in Scotland. We bring together a diverse range of organisations - including student and trade unions, international development and environment organisations, community and faith groups - to work together on climate change.  More information at www.stopclimatechaos.org/scotland.

2.     The UN conference on climate change is taking place in Warsaw, Poland from 11th to 22nd November 2013.  More information at http://unfccc.int.

3.     The international coal summit, hosted by the World Coal Association, is also taking place in Warsaw, Poland from 18th to 19th November.  More information at www.worldcoal.org/international-coal--climate-summit/international-coal-climate-summit

4.     The Polish Government has blocked action on climate change, particularly at an EU level.  More information on this in this report: www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/briefings/climate/COP19/Briefing-Poland-at-a-Crossroad.pdf

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