Photo: Greenpeace

REVEALED: Coal industry sponsors UN climate talks

Next month’s UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, will be sponsored by a number of coal companies.

Among the companies listed as sponsors by Polish Environment minister Henryk Kowalczyk was PGE, AFP has reported.

PGE owns the Bełchatów plant, which is both Europe’s biggest CO2 emitter and the also the continent’s most toxic power plant in terms of health-harming air pollution.

A Greenpeace activist standing on top of the Bełchatów coal power plant. Photo: Greenpeace

By coincidence, on the same day that the government announced the deal, activists from Greenpeace were scaling the Bełchatów plant to demand climate action and a coal phase out.

Polish Greenpeace activist Marek Józefiak said:

“There is no future in coal.”

Joined by activists from climate-vulnerable nations – the Philippines and Indonesia – Józefiak said: “What we need is a just transition that respects people and the environment, guaranteeing a better future for all. If it wants to be a responsible COP24 host, Poland must move beyond coal, stop promoting false solutions and drive ambition at Katowice. ”

The decision to take money from coal companies given the fuel’s massive contribution to climate breakdown was met with derision on Twitter:

A report released last week by Europe Beyond Coal listed PGE as the third most toxic coal company in Europe with modelled health impacts of €3.4bn.

The Polish government is coming under increasing pressure ahead of the crunch climate talks because of its continued support for coal.

Climate campaigners at CAN Europe have demanded that the EU stop governments like Poland using so-called ‘capacity mechanisms’ as a subsidy for coal power.

Last month META reported how opposition is growing to governments using capacity mechanisms to funnel ‘toxic funding’ to coal.

The UN’s ‘COP24’ climate conference starts in Poland this Sunday.