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Poland in trouble to meet CO2 target

An official thinks that the CO2 emissions target set by the EU will place a heavy burden on Poland’s energy sector.

At the end of January, the European Union presented a detailed plan for cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and increased use of renewable energy. The long awaited proposal will certainly provoke a heated debate among EU Member States, industrial lobbies and environmentalists.

As was expected, the European Commission announced a wide-ranging set of proposals on climate and energy policy aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the percentage of renewables in the European energy mix. The initiatives are aimed at tackling climate change and delivering a low carbon economy in Europe.

Since March 2007, Poland has been in a row with the European Commission over carbon dioxide emission limits set for a period up to 2012. The proposal presented a few days ago is going to cover the post-2012 period.

MEP Boguslaw Sonik, member of the European Parliament Committee for the Environment told that the issue of cuts in emissions is very high on the EU agenda but, as always, the devil lies in the details:

“Europe is really fast when it comes to adopting strict commitments on carbon dioxide emissions and increasing use of renewable energy resources,” he said.

“This issue is nowadays present in virtually all political manifestos or speeches and that is how we see this proposal, which has been just put on the table. But when it comes to the burden of sharing these ambitious pledges, the debate becomes tricky because no one wants to limit its own economic growth. The Polish situation is especially difficult as the biggest share of energy we produce still comes from coal.”

In March 2007, European leaders also pledged to achieve a 20% share of renewables as part of overall European energy production by 2020.

The proposal for the renewables directive sets national targets for renewable energy use based on a Member States' ability to produce power from sources including biomass, hydro, wind and solar power.

Poland has to double its use of renewable energies from 7.5% to 15% by 2020. Now Member States will need to set their own binding targets for renewables in heating and cooling systems.

“Poland will certainly have a problem with adapting to EU technology requirements put forward by the European Commission,” says Piotr Maciej Kaczynski from the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels. He thinks the bar has been set too high for Poland to realistically achieve the targets.

“It will be quite costly to adapt to these requirements. This will be quite a challenging task for any Polish government.”

Europe’s largest business and industry associations are objecting to the European Commission's plan, as it could hurt European industry in global competition, they say.

Now the package will go through the normal decision makes process, with representatives of the European Parliament and Member States sitting in the Council having their say on the proposals. (polskieradio)