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Union deal on Polish coal mine shutdown to be signed


Union deal on Polish coal mine shutdown to be signed

Polish coal
Photo: Sean Gallup/ Getty

Representatives from the Polish government and the nation’s coal unions are set to sign an agreement today clarifying the future of the coal in the country.

The two sides have been at odds since the government announced last year that state-owned Polska Grupa Gornicza, the nation’s largest coal producer, would close all mines by 2049 in an effort to boost renewable energy usage. Disagreements ensued over how the government will ensure a stable transition for the 100,000 workers employed in the industry.

Despite this agreement, Poland’s current energy transition framework is unlikely to meet the EU’s goal of achieving a net 55% reduction by 2030. As other member states prepare for rapid decarbonization of their energy sectors, Poland’s heavy reliance on coal for electricity generation, has put it at odds with the bloc—it is the only member country opposed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.  This coal reliance and the power of coal unions has neutered political motivation to transition away from it. Expect Brussels to denounce increased state aid to mining companies in the short-term and additional pressure from environmental groups and neighboring states for Poland to adopt stricter climate and emissions targets in the medium- and long-term.

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