Coal-reliant Poland will this year aim to ratify an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emissions, making it possible for the European Union to back the pact unanimously, the country’s environment ministry said on Thursday. EU environment ministers participating in a UN climate meeting in Bonn will on Thursday discuss options for ratifying the 2012 Doha Amendment.
The amendment forms a legal framework for CO2 reduction efforts until 2020, when the Paris climate agreement that more than 200 nations signed in late 2015 kicks in. “Our aim is to ratify the amendment this year,” the environment ministry’s spokesman told Reuters, adding that the ratification still needs to go through the regular legislative process, which involves approval by parliament and the president.
The EU needs unanimous backing by member states in order to ratify the amendment as a whole, and Poland is the only EU state which has not signed it yet. Last year Poland, which generates most of its electricity in outdated coal-fired power stations, said it was willing to back the ratification if the European Commission guaranteed financing for new, cleaner coal-fired plants.
In 2015 Poland’s president unexpectedly vetoed the amendment arguing that the country needed more time to analyse its impact on the economy. The oldest and least effective ones will have to be closed in coming years under EU regulations targeting emission cuts. To avert blackouts, Poland’s government has accelerated its efforts to build new ones it says will reduce emissions. It is also considering building a nuclear power plant or developing offshore wind farms.
The Doha Amendment must be endorsed by at least 140 countries for it to come into force. As of the end of October, 84 countries had ratified it, according to the United Nations’ climate website. Governments and diplomats from around the world are meeting in Bonn from Nov. 6-17 to work on the details of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which succeeds the Kyoto Protocol and aims to end the fossil fuel era by 2100.