Poles want energy transition to renewables = no new coal!

Guest blog from Diana Maciąga, Global Power Shift participant and organiser for the Association Workshop for All Beings/ StopEP campaign

Diana Maciagna, StopEP campaignThe vast majority of Poles want their country to take strong action on climate change and shift to renewable energy. This is the result of a representative nationwide poll by TNS Polska in March 2014 commissioned by campaigning community Avaaz.

According to the poll, 88 percent agree with the notion that Poland should focus on building its own renewable energy supplies to gain independence from Russian gas supplies. Sixty-seven percent agree with the statement that climate change is a threat to their own or their children’s lifestyle in the coming decades.

As European leaders convene in Brussels from 20-21 March to discuss EU climate and renewable energy goals, the poll shows that 59 percent think that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk should support the call for an EU goal to reduce CO₂ emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030. In addition, 57 percent state that it is likely that politicians’ position on renewable energy and climate change solutions will affect how they vote in future elections.

This poll shows very clearly that Polish citizens want our country to take strong action on climate change and shift to renewable energy sources. Our government has to stop blocking EU climate action and we cannot allow private projects such as Elektrownia Północ, which put us on the worst possible path for our energy future.

Stopping the largest new coal power plant in Europe

Elektrownia Północ, also known as the North Power Plant, is the largest of the new coal power plants planned in Europe. If built, it would emit around 10 mln tons of CO₂ a year and lock Poland into coal dependency for at least another 35 years. Pollution from the plant poses a threat to human health, cultural heritage sites, farmers’ livelihoods and the precious local ecosystems including the Vistula river.

That is why we have set up the Stop Elektrownia Północ campaign and launched a petition calling on the main investor Dr Jan Kulczyk to stop investing in the coal power plant. As Chairman of Green Cross International’s Board of Directors and member of the Climate Change Task Force, he regularly declares his concern for the environment. He has for instance said, “We have a choice. Unless we start to eliminate the sources of global environmental risks today, tomorrow they will eliminate us.” Let’s hold him to his word!

So far, more than 5,000 people have joined the call urging Dr Kulczyk to put his money where his mouth is. Help us stop Elektrownia Północ by adding your voice to our petition.

It is clear that the Polish people want an energy transition. That means that a new dirty energy project like Elektrownia Północ should never be built. Instead, the government needs to support a massive scale-up of renewable energy – also led by citizens themselves -, which will free Poland from dependency of coal and Russian gas.

Find more information about the EP campaign at http://www.stopep.org/en.

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