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Energy security is as important as climate protection: Polish president at COP27

07.11.2022 23:00
Poland’s president has said that energy security is as important as climate protection and warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has undermined climate policy.
Polands President Andrzej Duda talks to reporters at the United Nations COP27 global climate summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, on Monday, November 7, 2022.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda talks to reporters at the United Nations' COP27 global climate summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh, on Monday, November 7, 2022.KPRP/Jakub Szymczuk

Andrzej Duda made the remark at the United Nations' COP27 global climate summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh on Monday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is harming climate policy

Appearing at a media briefing, Duda said that as countries sought to switch to renewable energy sources, "the international situation had changed dramatically,” with energy costs rising massively.

He added that, apart from climate protection, for many countries "the key issue is ensuring energy security." 

Duda said this was especially true for countries where “there is the winter season and people need to heat their homes,” such as many European countries, including Poland. 

The president stressed: “It is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, totally unjustified and criminal, that has caused such gigantic turbulence on the energy market.”

Duda invoked the principle of Just Transition, first formulated at the COP24 summit in Poland’s Katowice in 2018, stating that the principle must encompass the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on energy security.        

The president told reporters: “Today, Ukraine’s power plants and heating substations are being bombarded - and what for? To create a crisis, including a humanitarian crisis, to spark another wave of migration from Ukraine to Poland, to the countries of Western Europe.”

He added: “All such actions obviously hurt climate policy. Today, we must take this difficult situation into account, also in climate policy.”

Duda said he had raised the issue during Monday’s roundtable discussion on Just Transition at the event in Sharm-el-Sheikh.  

Alternatives to Russian gas

Duda noted that Poland had managed to secure supplies of gas from other sources than Russia.

He said: “Thanks to Russia’s recent decision to halt gas supplies to Poland, when it turned out that Moscow was no longer delivering the resource through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, we were able to ensure that gas would be supplied from other sources."

He listed "the liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northwestern city of Świnoujście" and interconnectors with Lithuania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany.

"We have also launched the natural gas pipeline from Norway, Baltic Pipe,” Duda said.

The president added: “Although Russia halted supplies to our country, we are secure in terms of energy thanks to cooperation and expansion of infrastructure under the Three Seas Initiative.”  

Duda told reporters that “climate policy is full of injustice” because some countries are already using low-emission energy sources, such as nuclear power, while others, such as Poland, have traditionally relied on coal. 

He said: “Today it is being said that coal must be renounced. For our economy, for our country, it is a massive transition.“

He added that Poland was "among the countries for whom energy transition will mean enormous costs.” 

Duda also argued that “energy transition must proceed in a rational and just way,” to be people-friendly, “instead of making people’s lives more difficult, leaving them poor, jobless, without access to sources of heating, at least not affordable ones.”  

Polish president at COP27

Duda arrived at COP27 on the summit’s first day on Sunday. On Monday, he took part in the opening ceremony of the high-level meeting of world leaders, which continues at the COP27 until Tuesday. 

The Polish president participated in the Just Transition roundtable and held a series of behind-the-scenes bilateral meetings, including with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, according to officials.  

On Tuesday, Duda is scheduled to address the COP27 plenary session and attend a roundtable discussion on Water Security and a high-level meeting called Promoting Climate Change Education.

World leaders are set to depart from Sharm-el-Sheikh on Tuesday, leaving their representatives, mainly environment ministers, to carry out complex negotiations on a new global climate deal. The talks are scheduled to end at 6 p.m. on November 18, news outlets reported.

Monday is day 257 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, prezydent.pl