The Minister of Environment, Michał Woś, gave a presentation at a conference titled “The European Green Deal and Poland’s Interests”, where he proposed to create a Polish CO2 emissions trading system. He spoke on behalf of United Poland (Solidarna Polska), a party that is part of the United Right (Zjednoczona Prawica), a coalition that currently rules in Poland. “We ought to think through whether we should remain in the European system or, considering Poland’s peculiar position, propose a Polish emissions trading system. We prepared a bill on this matter to make sure that the emission prices are not subject to speculation,” he said.
“Documents may include beautiful words, but we can all see how their implementation works in practice,” minister Woś stated. “The European Commission decided that from now the European Green Deal will be a priority. Poland, together with other EU states accepted the climate agreement, which means they need to achieve climate neutrality in the second half of the 21st century,” the minister reminded. In his opinion this means that the participants have the right to pursue this goal in line with their own vision “until 2099”. “According to the agreements, individual paths to the goal are allowed,” he stressed. In his view Polish forests may play a fundamental role in this transition. “They absorb carbon dioxide. The Land use, land-use change, and forestry directive (LULUCF) provides for absorbtion. However, unfortunately there is a proposition to not wait for 2099 and instead be at the forefront of changes, so that the European Union could become the first area which will achieve neutrality already in 2050,” the minister noted.
After the European Council summit in December 2019, Poland was granted the so-called Polish rebate. Poland agreed that the EU as a whole should achieve climate neutrality by 2050, but one country – it’s implied it’s Poland – would not be able to become neutral by that deadline. Minister Woś pointed out that EU documents did not force Poland to implement this national target. “We believe that we should use this opportunity to make sure these are not just words on paper, and translate these exceptions into a success. Half a year has passed, but a genuine debate on the issue is nowhere to be seen,” the minister weighted in and referred to United Poland’s position. “Since we are turning a blind eye by saying that 2050 as a whole is OK, then we need to demand specifics. However, so far we’ve been short on those,” he added.
“We obtained a historically large sum of 750 billion in the EU budget. This is a genuine financial success. However, my political group was very concerned about the rule of law, an issue Zbigniew Ziobro, the Minister of Justice, talked about. This is not about respecting it or not, but about sovereignty. If we agreed that the rule of law will be judged unanimously, we need to make sure these procedures will be followed,” the minister pressed. “We are convinced that, just like our Prime Minister said, a single euro will not be taken away from us,” he added.
“We should be as adamant when enforcing the acceptance for Poland’s path. This looks great on paper, but what’s next? As United Poland we want to encourage the government to start negotiations with the European Union on the emissions trading system,” the minister announced. In his opinion, the price variations within the existing emissions trading system make it impossible to plan investments. “We should ask whether this is an element of protecting the climate, or of a completely different policy. This system is emptying Polish pockets. If these actions were balanced out by government investments in energy transition, then we could consider them. However, on behalf of my political group I would like to encourage the people responsible for relations with the EU on this matter to raise the issue of the emissions trading system during negotiations. We ought to think through whether we should remain in the European system or, considering Poland’s peculiar position, propose a Polish emissions trading system. We prepared a bill on this matter to make sure that the emissions prices are not subject to speculation,” he urged.