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Polish president at COP27 urges stepped-up efforts to quit Russian fossil fuels

08.11.2022 14:15
Poland’s president has called on the international community to step up pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, saying that the Kremlin’s aggression has endangered the "timely implementation of the climate transition."
Polands President Andrzej Duda addresses a plenary session of the United Nations COP27 climate change conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda addresses a plenary session of the United Nations' COP27 climate change conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. KPRP/Jakub Szymczuk

Andrzej Duda made the appeal at the United Nations' COP27 climate change conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm-el-Sheikh on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Addressing a plenary session of the conference, the Polish president noted that 2022 marks 30 years since the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

He said that the anniversary “prompts us to take stock of the climate action undertaken so far and to discuss the next steps, especially in the face of a very difficult international situation – the war in Ukraine, food and climate crisis.”

Poland 'significantly reducing emissions while growing its GDP'

Duda said that during the last three decades Poland “has achieved the adopted gas emissions reduction targets by 2020, it is actively developing the system of renewable energy sources as well as the low–carbon civil nuclear power program.”

Moreover, “Poland is promoting electromobility, energy efficiency and is developing new technologies. Our country is actively engaged in order to meet the goals set for us all,” the president added.

He told the conference that “despite challenges arising from the nature of our energy sector and industry, Poland is an example of a country following the path of sustainable development, significantly reducing emissions while growing its GDP.”

Transition 'has to be cost–effective and serve energy security'

Duda said that both Poland and the European Union were on course  to achieve “the goals stipulated in the Climate Convention and in the Paris Agreement.”

He called for “a socially sustainable transition.”

The president stressed: ”Transition is there to serve man, not man to serve transition.”

He reiterated that for millions of Poles, the main issue during the upcoming winter season would "not be how many of our ambitious climate goals we have achieved,” but rather “why the energy resources are so expensive” and why “living standards have dropped so dramatically.”

Duda went on to say: “Transition that puts man at the centre of changes has to be cost–effective and serve energy security.”

He added: “By adopting the Katowice Rulebook as well as the Solidarity and Just Transition Declaration at COP24 in Poland, we have defined a framework for these actions. Today we must implement it in a consistent manner.”

The president called on the international community to “not be climate hypocrites.”

He added: “It is easy for the leaders of the rich North to boast about their achievements. The world, however, has the right to ask where we have moved our production. For if we have moved it to non–European countries, then we should not forget that our responsibility has not disappeared. Since we are the ones who say that there is just one climate.”

'Russia's criminal aggression against Ukraine'

Duda told the gathering: “Today our transformation is much more difficult, among other things, due to Russia's criminal aggression against Ukraine, which has inflicted enormous human losses, caused damage to Ukraine`s infrastructure, economy and environment – losses for which the Russian perpetrators should be held accountable and which they should cover.”

Duda said that Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine has generated “crises and huge costs which put at risk timely implementation of the climate transition as well as timely attainment of the intended goals.”

Furthermore, “it has also generated additional emissions, exceeding the level of those produced by a number of developing countries within the scope of one year,” he told the COP27 conference.

Stepped-up efforts needed to 'become independent of Russian fossil fuels'

The Polish president said: “In the light of the above, we must provide a strong response, caring first and foremost for the people, for our compatriots, for individual energy consumers.”

He added: “We must strive to ensure that the Russian aggression is promptly and permanently repelled by increasing support for Ukraine, enhancing pressure on Russia and stepping up our efforts to become independent of Russian fossil fuels.”

Duda urged: “Today we need solidarity and concerted global action as much as ever. We need to work out innovative solutions that will ensure energy security and climate protection, ones which, through research and development, will bring about a technological leap towards a low–carbon transition.”

Later on Tuesday, the Polish president was scheduled to attend a COP27’s roundtable session on water security and a high-level meeting called Promoting Climate Change Education, according to officials.

World leaders were 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.

Tuesday is day 258 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, prezydent.pl, cop27.eg

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Łaszczuk.