Poland Heads to Biden Climate Summit With Own Path to Neutrality

Poland, the European Union’s most coal-dependent country, plans to spell out its own conditions for reaching climate neutrality at U.S. President Joe Biden’s summit this week.

President Andrzej Duda plans to say during the summit on Friday that getting to net zero emissions needs to be “fair and just” for Polish society, while preserving the nation’s energy security, according to Krzysztof Szczerski, one of his top advisers.

Biden pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 ahead of the virtual summit in a bid to demonstrate renewed American resolve to fight climate change and pressure wary nations to raise their own ambitions. Earlier this week, EU leaders made the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, paving the way for a torrent of new rules and standards to overhaul the bloc’s economy.

Poland Heads to Biden Climate Summit With Own Path to Neutrality

Poland, a country of 38 million that burns coal to generate 70% of its electricity, has said its energy transition would cost 1.6 trillion zloty ($424 billion) and that it needs more time and bigger resources to reach climate neutrality than EU peers. While backing ambitious greenhouse reduction targets, Duda will most likely reiterate his country’s unique position on reaching neutrality at the summit.

“We have to build our individual path to climate neutrality,” Szczerski, a presidential minister in charge of international affairs, said by phone on Thursday. “We will need to use natural gas for a longer time, while our departure from coal needs to be gradual.”

Szczerski said Poland was ready to amend its priorities with the U.S. after the departure of coal-industry supporter Donald Trump, one of Duda’s biggest political allies in the past four years. It seeks to focus more on renewable energy as well as continuing negotiations on Warsaw gaining access to nuclear technology.

“Climate and climate-related technologies could be a very important area for cooperation,” he said. “We’re talking mainly about nuclear energy, but also about other fields. We’re ready to strike partnerships.”

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