Poland’s share in the EU’s just transition project – a plan to help the bloc end the use of coal as a source of energy – should be cut in half to €1bn unless Warsaw signs up to the 2050 climate neutrality goal, President of the European Council Charles Michel proposed on February 17.
The proposal opens a new front in Poland’s battle with Brussels over climate policy. Poland is the only member state not to have agreed to 2050 as the deadline for achieving climate neutrality. With nearly three-quarters of its electricity produced by burning emissions-intensive hard coal and lignite – the most in the EU – Poland wants a longer timeline and more support for the transition. Warsaw has long argued that it needs special treatment when it comes to climate policy because of a much less advantageous starting point.
Poland was originally to receive €2bn from the Just Transition Fund (JTF), which is a part of the larger Just Transition Mechanism (JTM) that Brussels hopes will mobilise a total of €100bn for facilitating a move away from coal, burning which is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.
The EU plans to reinvigorate its climate policy in the coming years to remain global leader of the push to limit warming to below 2°C by 2100, compared to the pre-industrial era. There also is a growing citizen movement in the bloc, demanding politicians to act bolder and faster.
“For member states that have not yet committed to a national objective of climate neutrality by 2050, access to the Just Transition Fund will be limited to 50% of their national allocation,” Michel said in his proposal.
The proposal will be up for discussion in the coming EU summit on February 20 that will focus on the bloc’s next budget for 2021-2027.