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(Anti)Coal news from Poland

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Informationl and educational activities are being addressed to local communities on the opportunities and threats of renewable energy as well as environmental and social consequences of continued use of coal as well as creation and maintenance of mines.

There was a meeting with the inhabitants of the Zloczew commune, who until now were not active in public consultations regarding the project, during which specialists hydrologists, surveyors and lawyers gave presentations and answered questions from residents. The reaction of the participants showed that there is disinformation in the community and lack of basic knowledge about the consequences of creating a planned outcrop, like possible and anticipated changes in the hydrogeological network. Thise activities carried out are not only more and more popular among inhabitants, local farmers and entrepreneurs, but also have a real impact on the course of events. Opponents of the construction of the brown coal mine in Zloczew appealed against the court’s plans regrding the location of the part of the open pit. The court’s judgment is favorable for opponents of the mine.

The Złoczew open-pit, if created, will be the deepest open-pit in Europe – 354 m.p.p. The rocks will be dispersed with dynamite (in Bełchatów and Szczerców it was not necessary). It will be necessary to extract 7 billion tons of overburden rock. The dumping ground will squeeze the soil from underneath (pressure of approx. 230 tons /m2), which will lead to deformation of the area. Seismic shocks can also be expected.





Winter has increased SMOG and of course anti-smog activity of local communities. SMOG has now become one of the most recognizable environmental themes, not only in discussions, but also in action. Protests and social campaigns forced the local authorities of several regions to establish real action plans, commitments and resolutions and a new law.

For example, in Lower Silesia, the new law prohibits the use of coal waste and wet wood as early as July 2018 and the elimination of obsolete kilns (so-called mugs) until 2024 and ban on solid fuels in Wrocław and 7 Lower Silesian health resorts since 2028. Of course, the terms adopted in the resolution leave much to be desired, but most importantly, that finally real legal tool to fight smog






The Małopolska region has been running for over a year the LIFE program, employing 60 eco-advisors who have already gave 155,000 advice and 1300 meetings with residents were held, in which  preparation of furnace replacement requests, for an total amount over PLN 150 million were assisted. On this basis, the regional air protection program was updated, and anti-smog resolution provisions were prepared. The activities carried out have brought first results – only in 2016 in Malopolska about 7.3 thousand outdated heating boilers were liquidated, which allowed to reduce PM 10 emissions by 270 tons.


Everything depends on individual commitment. There are authorities who are active in finding and obtaining grants for implementation of sustainable and renewable energy solutions in their regions. The Rzasnia commune (Łodz Province) is one of the few in Poland, where almost 100 percent of residents use renewable energy sources. First, it implemented a program in which it paid extra costs to residents for the purchase and installation of solar collectors, used for water heating and heating. Residents had to invest only PLN 500 (about 120 Euros). The rest was covered by the EU subsidy and its own budget. As much as 85 percent of households from the commune benefited of the program, significantly reducing air pollution, but also energy bills of all.


Since the new year the largest distracted solar plant in Poland has been operating in Wroclaw. Located on the roofs of 35 residential high-rise buildings, consisting of 2771 solar panels, with total capacity of nearly 0.75 MW. Approximately 15,000 residents of Wroclaw use clean electricity from sun.



Poland, however, is a rich country …

almost PLN 230 billion – such an amount was paid by Poles in a direct form to mining and coal-based energy in the years 1990-2016. If you add the so-called external costs, the hidden bill for coal is PLN 1 billion 973 billion. The analysis show that if the current energy policy is maintained in the coming years, subsidies for coal will increase further, at least by 30%. http://www.greenpeace.org/poland/pl/press-centre/dokumenty-i-raporty/Ukryty-rachunek-za-wegiel-2017/

The sulphated coal will continue to poison the Poles – the Ministry of Energy proposes new coal standards for households.

The draft ordinance on quality standards presented by the Ministry of Energy allows for sale of high-sulfur coal to households. The Ministry of Energy has removed from the regulation all requirements for sulfur pollution of coal. Such changes were postulated by Polska Grupa Gornicza and Tauron Wydobycie S.A. The Council of Ministers was to take over the project recently.


Risky financial engagement in coal….

An updated report higlighting the environmental, health and social risks of financial engagement with one of the Polish less diversified energy companies – a privately-owned lignite utility ZE PAK S.A. owning some of the most polluting coal power plants in Europe.


Polish Police set to ban spontaneous protests and secretly gather personal data at UN climate talks COP24

Participants of the next UN climate talks, known as COP24, in Poland could be banned from taking part in spontaneous demonstrations and have their personal data collected, stored and used by Polish police without their consent if a draft piece of legislation becomes law.

Only demonstrations previously registered with the local authority in Katowice will be allowed to go ahead — effectively preventing environmental activists reacting to events unfolding during talks to stage protests in the city. The ban is not expected to apply to demonstrations organised inside the conference centre, which have to be approved by the conferences’ organising committee. Police will be able to “collect, obtain, process and use information, including personal data about people registered as participants of the COP24 conference or cooperating with its organisation, without the knowledge and consent of the people involved”.

This would include volunteers and people employed to help with the running of the conference.

Last year, just over 19,000 people attended the climate talks in Bonn and close to 50,000 people attended the talks in Paris in 2015, according to UN data.


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