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Poland applies EU climate brakes

Poland gives the thumbs down to plans for a European climate agreement this year, as Denmark prepares for the Climate Summit in 2009.

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The prime minister's hopes for a global climate agreement in Copenhagen next year appear to have been dashed by Poland.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has repeatedly said that a global agreement on CO2 reductions at next year's Climate Summit in Copenhagen is contingent on the European Union being able to reach its own compromise at this year's December EU summit.

But Poland has made it clear that under current circumstances it will not agree to EU targets and is close to giving up negotiations completely.

"I see no flexibility at all from the rich countries," says Poland's Minister for Europe and Climate Delegation leader Mikolaj Dowgielewicz in an interview with Politiken and DR.

Burden sharing
At its December summit, the 27 European Union countries are looking to agree on the practical aspects of burden-sharing in order to reach a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. That burden-sharing agreement is seen as vital in getting the United States, India and China, among others, to agree on a global climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009.

At the same time, it is hoped that the EU summit will confirm the Union's ambitious target that 20 percent of Europe's energy should come from sustainable energy sources by 2020.

But Dowgielewicz says that in reality, the goals are unattainable.

38 million
"Poland is not France which has nuclear power. Poland is not Denmark, which is almost self-sufficient in its energy requirement," says Dowgielewicz.

"We are 38 million people in the middle of Europe and we are behind the rest. We have to catch up with developments in your countries - and that is in everyone's interest. And if you say to us - a country that gets 95 percent of its energy from coal - that we have to change everything, it's just a dream. A nice dream, but a dream nonetheless," he adds.

Ultimatum
Dowgielewicz arrives in Brussels today with an ultimatum for the Commission, the French Presidency and other EU countries. His government is adamant that the current negotiations are going nowhere, and that much more consideration must be given to less wealthy EU countries.

The Polish government feels that the current status of the negotiations is impossible and that the French Presidency is only looking out for itself, Italy and Germany - all of whom are hiding behind Poland in a wish to postpone or scrap the European climate agreement.

Movement
Dowgielewicz says he finds it difficult to see a compromise.

"There are no good signs for the negotiations of the coming weeks. And quite honestly I am sorry about that. But everyone is going to have to compromise if we are to reach agreement in December. At the moment, I cannot imagine how that is going to be possible," he concludes.

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