Fossil of the Day-Nov 18

The COP host, Poland, earns today’s First Place Fossil for aggressively promoting coal.

The Polish government is endorsing the International Coal and Climate Summit. The Polish Ministry of Economy and the World Coal Association developed "The Warsaw Communiqué", a statement claiming “there is a misconception that the use of coal is incompatible with meeting the challenge of climate change”, contrary to the fact that coal combustion is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.

As the UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres said at the summit today, most of the known reserves of coal will have to stay in the ground if we are to secure a safe climate.

Also, today 27 scientists released a joint statement discrediting "high efficiency coal" promoted at the coal summit. The scientists confirm that the unabated burning of coal will make it impossible to secure a safe climate.

Poland could halve its coal demand, boost energy from renewable sources to over 25 per cent and create 100,000 jobs by 2030, but instead, the government plans to increase Poland's emissions even after 2020 . . .

 

Read complete Fossil texts at www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day

Photo: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

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Missing Finance Threatens Climate Talks as the Polish Government Tries to Keep the Coal Age on Life Support

[Warsaw, PolandNovember 18, 2013] The UN climate negotiations in Warsaw are at risk of stalling as developed countries fail to take the concerns of poorer countries seriously, policy experts from the Climate Action Network warned today. 

As ministers prepared to arrive in Warsaw tomorrow, Ruth Davis from Greenpeace, said that over the past few years  the UNFCCC process had established a range of institutions and mechanisms to deliver climate action, such as the Green Climate Fund, the Adaptation Fund and the Technology Mechanism.

"We have built a large machine, but this machine is silent - there is currently no commitment by governments to make the machine work," Davis said.

"When ministers arrive at the Warsaw talks tomorrow, they must find a way to deliver the finance desperately needed to help developing countries move forward on the climate action they want to take." 

This dire situation within the talks came in tandem with the Polish Government's attempt to divert attention from the climate negotiations to the World Coal and Climate Summit which opened today.

But , Kuba Gogolewski, of Bankwatch, said this attempt was derailed when the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, told delegates that most existing coal reserves will have to stay in the ground. 

"A cynical attempt to extend the social license of coal has failed," he said. The Polish Government was today handed the Fossil of the Day award, given to countries who have done the most to block progress in the negotiations. 

"The Polish Government's blind support for coal is ironic given that since 2008 Poland is a net importer of coal. The country could better guarantee energy independence by transitioning to renewable energy," Gogolewski said.  A recent scenario shows Poland could halve its coal demand, boost energy from renewable sources to over 25 per cent and create 100,000 jobs by 2030. 

ON DEMAND WEBCAST of PRESS CONFERENCE AVAILABLE HERE:  http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop19/templ/play.php?id_kongresssession=6954&theme=unfccc

For photos of this morning’s #Cough4Coal Protest at the Coal & Climate Summit, visit: http://bit.ly/cough4coal


Credit: Greenpeace International

Greenpeace activists from over 20 countries today protested on the roof of the Ministry of Economics against the World Coal Summit, hosted by the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and running concurrently with the UN climate negotiations in Warsaw. 

Contact:

For more information or for one-on-one interviews with NGO experts, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Climate Action Network (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 850 members in over 100 countries. 

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POLAND’s BLIND ADDICTION TO COAL EARNS THEM A FOSSIL

The COP host, Poland, earns today’s Fossil for undermining our chances to stay below a two degree global temperature increase by aggressively promoting coal. Coal is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and the main cause of the current climate crisis.

In a cynical attempt to extend the social license of coal, the Polish government is endorsing an International Coal and Climate Summit, "the coal industry’s most important event of the year". As a part of this initiative the Polish Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with World Coal Association, developed "The Warsaw Communiqué", a statement claiming “there is a misconception that the use of coal is incompatible with meeting the challenge of climate change”, contrary to the fact that coal combustion is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere (the manifesto will be presented at the Coal Summit). 

As the UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres said at the summit today, most of the known reserves of coal will have to stay in the ground if we are to secure a safe climate.

Also, today 27 scientists released a joint statement discrediting "high efficiency coal" promoted at the coal summit. The scientists confirm that the unabated burning of coal will make it impossible to secure a safe climate. According to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of proven fossil-fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we want to have any chance to stay below two degrees threshold.

Despite that Polish Prime Minister confirms that Poland "just as it was based on coal in the past, will be based on coal" in the future. Despite 80% of Poles thinking that climate change is a serious problem and the Polish government should do more to prevent it, the government is forecasting opening one of the world's biggest lignite reserves near Legnica, which would require 20,000 people to be relocated. A monster mine!

Poland could halve its coal demand, boost energy from renewable sources to over 25 per cent and create 100,000 jobs by 2030, but instead, the government plans to increase Poland's emission's even after 2020. 

In September, the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that his task is not to think about the future. He successfully turns his words into action destroying our future. All of this earns Poland today’s Fossil of the Day Award.

Contact:
Ria Voorhaar
Communications Coordinator
Climate Action Network-International
rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org
mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

Polish Government's Coal Addition Has a High Cost for People's Health and the Climate

Warsaw, Poland - November 18, 2013: At the half way point of the major climate change negotiations of the year, attention turns to the Polish Government's overt attempt to use this meeting to push its own agenda on coal. 

Polish coal activist Kuba Gogolewski will reveal why the the Polish Government is addicted to coal despite  the fact it needs to import much of its supply and burning it costs its people their health. In a recent study by the European Environmental Agency, Poland's second city, Krakow,  has the third worst air quality in the world.

The Polish Government backed International Coal and Climate Summit, being put on by the World Coal Association and which opens today, will attempt to secure a future for coal. But 27 scientists will release a joint statement on how we cannot continue to burn coal and secure a safe climate. Dr Bert Metz will detail how the most of the world's coal reserves must stay in the ground, if we are to stay within the 2C threshold. 

Despite the Polish Government's attempts to hijack this meeting with its pro-coal agenda, the negotiations at the stadium roll on. Ministers will arrive on Tuesday, where the attention will turn to finance and the extra efforts countries need to be making to reduce carbon pollution in the short term. Ruth Davis, from Greenpeace, will reflect on the first week of the negotiations and look forward to the final five days.

Who:

• Ruth Davis, Greenpeace

• Kuba Gogolewski, CEE Bankwatch

• Dr Bert Metz, former IPCC Scientist and European Climate Foundation fellow

What: A CAN policy expert gives media a briefing on updates in the climate negotiations in Warsaw, while others speakers detail to costs of continuing to burn coal. 

When: 12.30pm CET, today Monday November 18th.

Where: COP19 Venue, National Stadium Warsaw, Press Conference Room 2 located on Level -2/Zone E6, right next to Plenary 2. The press conference will also be webcast live here: http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/adp02/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=241

 

Note:  As you arrive at the COP venue today, please look out for this stunt being staged by Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, ActionAid, WWF, Greenpeace and Christian Aid 

Venue: at the entrance of the COP conference at the Warsaw National Stadium (just before the security)

Time: 8:30-9:30am  

Date: Monday 18th November

Background

The UN climate negotiations are taking place in Warsaw against a wave of scientific evidence for the central role that fossil fuels now have as the main source of climate pollution. This is in particular true for coal. Yet the Polish government has been persistent in pushing its pro-coal agenda, including supporting the staging of a provocative Coal and Climate Summit at the same time of the COP19.

 

Stunt Description

There will be two carpets, one red and one green. The carpets will be unveiled by two activists wearing traditional Polish folk clothes (representing the Polish Government). Delegates will be asked to walk on the green carpet (representing clean energy) while the activists will walk the red carpet, wearing masks in the shape of coal power plant tower. The red carpet will symbolise the warm welcome the Polish government has extended to the fossil fuel industry at this COP. Supports will line the sides with one big banner.

For further information, please contact:
Katja Ferbezar (Greenpeace) at +386 40 235 949    katja.ferbezar@greenpeace.si
George Smeeton (WWF) GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk, mobile: +44 (0)7917 052 948

 

Contact:

For more information or for one-on-one interviews with the NGO experts, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

 

Climate Action Network (CAN) is the world’s largest network of civil society organizations working together to promote government action to address the climate crisis, with more than 850 members in over 100 countries. 

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Our mailing address is:

Climate Action Network-International

Rmayl, Nahr Street, Jaara Building, 4th floor

P.O.Box: 14-5472, Beirut, Lebanon

Phone: +961.1.447192

Fax: +961.1.448649

 


Piotr Siergiej, the Polish Climate Coalition (cc)

 

Poland: Coal, Climate and Contradiction

There is not much worse you can do as the presidency of the COP than hosting and blessing what’s advertised as the ‘coal industry’s most important event of the year’.

Just three kilometres away from the venue where discussions on how to avoid the worst impacts of global warming are ongoing, coal lobbyists will be repeating the lie that saving the climate and burning coal can go hand in hand. All of this is applauded and supported by the Polish government, the very same one that invited climate negotiators to Warsaw.

While the government of Poland is fixated on protecting the coal industry against effective climate policies, an overwhelming majority of the citizens of Poland are in favour of climate protection and would like to see more investments in renewable energy instead of the massive state subsidies going to coal.

Finding itself isolated in the EU and accused of misusing the COP Presidency for promoting its own agenda, the Polish government has turned to one of its last true friends, the World Coal Association. To demonstrate their shared love for coal, these soul mates together developed together the agitprop of the decade: the 'Warsaw Communiqué'. This short screed advocates that you can tackle climate change with continued coal burning. It’s like claiming you can cure lung cancer while smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

But ECO reminds the Polish government that according to the International Energy Agency, two-thirds of proven fossil-fuel reserves must remain in the ground if we want to have any chance of staying below 2°C of warming.

Coal and Climate have only one thing in common -- both words start with C.

Continuing that Contradiction will lead to Climate Catastrophe unless the Coal stays in the ground. 

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Siekierki coal power station

The Siekierki coal power station is readily visible south of the National Stadium in Warsaw. First operational in 1961, it now generates 622 MW of electricity and provides district heat for a large part of the city. It is owned since 2012 by PGNiG, a large oil and natural gas company controlled by the Polish state. The station CO2 emissions are about 3.2 million tonnes/annum. Installing a proposed 'clean coal' power block would not reduce the impact in a major way.  Instead, the Siekierki plant represents the last generation of coal if we are to have a planet worth living on.  (Image: Wikipedia)

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Coal and Health

Only two days apart, Warsaw is playing host to two major conferences in parallel with COP19. You all know about the first one -- the International Coal and Climate Summit starting today.  The second was a climate and health summit over the weekend organised by the Global Climate and Health Alliance. Both are seeing involvement from medical students and health professionals, but in dramatically different capacities.  

The climate and health event dealt extensively with the health impacts of climate change. Keynote speaker Dr. Liz Hanna, president of the Australian Climate and Health Alliance, described the situation as 'grim, grim and more grim'. Expert speakers from the World Health Organization and a wide range of public health entities around the world spoke to the ways climate action and clean energy can benefit health.  The conference also dealt in depth with the negative effects of air pollution, including those of coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels.

At the same time, there are determined members from the health community who are insisting that we hear the truth about the impacts of coal on parts of the body.  The 'People before Coal' protest outside the Coal Summit will cite recent research conducted by the Health and Environment Alliance highlighting that the health cost of coal in Poland alone amounts to over 8 billion Euros, and causes around 3000 premature deaths every year. 

Well, it seems that the Polish government, while hosting the Coal and Climate Summit, couldn’t quite make it to the climate and health summit.  Then, again, this is entirely consistent with the host country's actions during COP19 as a whole. But the people of Poland know better which side their interests are on. 

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Fully Branded COP

Everyone needs to take part in the battle against climate change, and we all agree that includes the private sector. Still, it was a shock to learn that the COP Presidency invited fossil industries to sponsor these climate talks, even while these very same companies do their utmost to fight against climate policies.

Corporate sponsorships to 'brand' stadiums have been around for a while.  All the same, ECO wasn't quite ready for this new trend at the COP. Branding is all about visibility and alliances. And money. So what message are we seeing here in Warsaw?

Just look around you. Fossil industry logos are everywhere in the conference center – on the water dispensers, in the meeting hall and on the welcome bags for COP guests. And the USB stick – you guessed it!  It’s full of presentations about the “excellent” environmental performance of these companies! But somehow the most important facts are missing:

* Alstom and PGE (the Polish majority state-owned energy utility) plan to build a huge new 1,800 MW coal power plant in Poland – a monster which would emit about 350 million tonnes of CO2 in its lifetime.

* The car maker BMW made headlines recently because of its generous donations to Ms. Merkel’s party, the political player who watered down the latest EU-wide regulation to reduce CO2 pollution from cars.  

* Arcelor Mittal, a global behemoth, was not only a tireless lobbyist against ambitious EU climate legislation, but has also been vocally against carbon pricing regulation in South Africa.

Of course, bags and pens aren’t really what we need from these companies. Instead, the best gift would be to keep the fossils in the ground – and fossil interests out of climate negotiations.

 

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