Polish Briefing 7 August, 2017 9:00 am   
Editorial staff

Polish Briefing: US notified the UN about its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

What goes on in Poland on the 7th of August.

US notified the UN about its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement

The State Department sent an official communication informing the UN about America’s intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which is part of the UN Climate Change Conference. The note said the US did not exclude the possibility of reentering the Agreement.

The notification stressed this would be possible ” if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers. ”

“The United States supports a balanced approach to climate policy that lowers emissions while promoting economic growth and ensuring energy security,” the communication to the UN said.

During the next three years, until the withdrawal is complete, the US delegation will continue to participate in all meetings of the signatory states.

The decision to withdraw from the Agreement was made by President Donald Trump, who announced on 1 of June that his country “will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

According to Trump the Agreement was beneficial “only” to other states, while he was elected to “represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Pittsburg used to play a significant role in the US steel industry, but it has significantly waned.

Russian Greenpeace v. Russia 

Russians are doing everything to make sure Nord Stream 2 is compatible with the law and receives all the necessary permits. Environmentalists are calling their actions a hoax and promise to act.

The draft of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Nord Stream 2 is now in Russia. The consortium responsible for the project stressed that it would not have any significant negative impact on the environment in the Kurgalski Reserve. The planned pipeline will go through that location, but the environmentalists are against this.

The Kurgalski Reserve hosts 56 bird species out of which 45 are in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the authors of the Environmental Impact Assessment, the locations of the birds’ main habitats are 15, 20 and 50 km away from the planned route of the pipeline. The EIA draft was based on the research conducted by the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Petersburg University. At this point it will be subject to public consultations. The public hearing on the subject will take place in the coming September. After the event every interested party will have a month to submit their comments on the project. Then the central institution that oversees environmental protection in Russia will assess whether Nord Stream 2 poses risk to the environment. The assessment is necessary to receive construction permits.

According to Kommiersant, Green Peace Russia deemed the draft a hoax. Earlier the local government of the Leningrad district introduced new law that allows to build gas pipelines on the premises of the Reserve. This happened despite criticism from international experts and Greenpeace. The organization believes the change of regulations was introduced only to conduct the EIA. In an interview for Kommiersant, the representatives of the local authorities denied the claims and explained they only changed the wording in the law, which allowed constructing gas pipelines in the Reserve anyway.

The Nord Stream 2 consortium, which is currently entirely owned by Russia’s Gazprom, promised the local authorities of Kingisepp investments worth EUR 30 million if the pipeline is build across the Reserve. Greenpeace Russia argues that the EIA draft presented by the Nord Stream 2 consortium was a hoax because, as the organization’s representative Mikhail Kreindlin said “it does not even include any information on the width of the pipeline’s construction area in the Reserve.” The environmentalists ensured they would go to court over the issues.

Pros and cons of the renewables reform

The Polish President must now decide to either veto or sign the amendment to the Renewables act. The participants of a conference organized by the Polish Economic Chamber of Renewable and Distributed Energy (PIGEOR) talked about the situation on the green certificates market after the amendment will be signed into law.

“The biggest organizations of the renwable energy sector – the Polish Economic Chamber of Renewable and Distributed Energy (PIGEOR), Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW) and Stowarzyszenie Małej Energetyki Wiatrowej (Association of Small Wind Turbines, SMEW) all called on the Polish President to refuse to sign the bill, which, if enters into life, would ultimately lead to the bankruptcy of the majority of non-public operators of renewable energy sources, especially those in the wind turbines business,” the Polish Coordination Council of Renewable Energy Sources (Polska Rada Koordynacyja OZE) wrote in a statement. The Council organized a debate together with representatives of the business and experts on the amendment to the bill. The panel was hosted by’s editor in chief Wojciech Jakóbik.

According to Tomasz Podganiak, vice-president of PIGEOR, the amendment changed the rules of the game, which had been previously planned for at least 15 years, i.e. the period during which the investments were supposed to recoup. “The long-term contracts signed by investors between 2009-2011 assumed that stable energy and certificate prices will be sustained. In 2011 we warned about the surplus of certificates, which might have contributed to the collapse of the market. However, the then-government did not take any action despite its assurances it would try to stabilize the market,” Podgajniak said. He also added that the current administration said nobody had made such declarations. “The national plan for renewable energy sources adopted in 2010 by the government declares that the support system’s stability will be ensured,” he argued.

Whereas Kamil Szydłowski, vice-president of SMEW reminded that wind energy was not only about huge foreign investors, but also smaller, Polish businessmen, an estimated 800 people. “Those companies did not sign any long-term contracts because they were too small. Despite that we are also against the act,” he said.