- Sports News : Star Fijian duo Kalione Nasoko and Eroni Sau sign for Edinburgh [25/03/2019 - United Kingdom]
- Sports News : Hong Kong Sevens immeasurable, says Olympic-winning coach Ben Ryan – ‘it is the soul of world sevens’ [25/03/2019 - Hong Kong]
- News : Coalition's Pacific bank misguided and has echoes of axed 1980s scheme, report warns [25/03/2019 - Australia]
- News : 1195 votes cast in Solomon Islands pre-polling [25/03/2019 - Solomon Islands]
- News Feature : Reset required for DFAT-AusAID integration [25/03/2019 - Australia]
- News Feature : Protection of high seas is crucial to safeguarding vulnerable coastal communities [25/03/2019 - United States]
- Business News : Fiji Airways flight forced to return to Singapore after facing mechanical issue [25/03/2019 - Fiji]
- Business News : Cook Islands Government surplus soars to $24million [25/03/2019 - Cook Islands]
- Business News : Experts helping Samoa launch new debt management system [25/03/2019 - Samoa]
- News : Tonga government backs action by King over petitions [25/03/2019 - Tonga]
- News : Fijian UN peacekeeper dismissed for sexual exploitation [25/03/2019 - Fiji]
- News Feature : Leaders told to bring plans, not speeches to UN climate summit [25/03/2019 - United States]
- Sponsored : Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC)
Poland’s trade unions are mounting a defence of coal workers against the impacts of climate policies in a government-backed conference this week.
The “social pre-cop” meeting is an effort to influence the agenda of Cop24, the UN climate summit to be held in the same city of Katowice this December.
Its line-up is dominated by mining and industrial unions. Cop24 president and government minister Michał Kurtyka is due to speak, as well as other unconfirmed government representatives. The event carries Polish president Andrej Duda’s stamp of approval.
An advance statement signed by three workers’ associations calls for an analysis of the costs and jobs impact of climate policies, and a “dialogue” at UN level between politicians, investors, employers, scientists and trade unionists. Without naming coal, it invokes national sovereignty and fairness arguments to shift debate in the industry’s favour.
One proposal is to exempt the most efficient plants in each industry from carbon pricing. In the EU carbon market, coal power stations face higher costs than other generators because their emissions are substantially higher.
“All energy carriers should be treated equally especially in the field of scientific research aimed at improving the efficiency of their energy production. Each state for the sake of its safety and sovereignty should be able to produce energy from the fuels owned on its territory in order to ensure cheaper heat and electricity for its economy,” the statement says.
It adds: “The costs of the existing climate policy should primarily be borne by the consumers of goods and services containing a carbon footprint from richer countries and not by the producers from poorer countries.”
Coal is the dirtiest source of electricity and several countries have committed to phase it out to slash their greenhouse gas emissions. The consultancy Climate Analytics argues the EU needs to end coal use by 2030 to align with the global warming limits in the Paris Agreement.
At the same time, the fuel dominates Poland’s energy mix and supports tens of thousands of jobs. While the country is starting to develop clean alternatives such as wind power, the shift to a greener economy threatens to disrupt communities built around mines.
The Katowice summit in December will shine a spotlight on a tension that is playing out in many other parts of the world, including neighbouring Germany.
A spokesperson for OPZZ, a network of Polish trade unions and co-organiser of this week’s conference, told Climate Home News: “We do agree that if the planet is dead, the discussion about decent work and international labour standards will be pointless.
“At the same time, given that the Polish economy is largely dependent on coal, the shift towards the ‘green economy’ will have monumental consequences for the citizens, employees and their families, including at existential level. Polish employees need to receive firm assurances that any changes in that area will not impact negatively on their employment and overall standard of life.”
In defending those employees, the conference flirts with science denial, giving a platform to Princeton physicist William Happer. Happer has no record of climate research, describing the field as a “cult”, and rejects the scientific consensus to argue the build-up of carbon dioxide is good for the planet.
A spokesperson for OPZZ said Happer had been invited by co-organiser Solidarność, which did not respond to a request for comment.
The programme also highlights an example of post-industrial regeneration in Poland. International visitors are offered a tour of Lake Tarnobrzeg, a former open pit sulphur mine turned water sports destination.
SOURCE: CLIMATE HOME/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media