Turów is contrary to Polish obligations regarding climate protection

The operation of the Turów power plant and mine until 2044 is contrary to Polish obligations regarding climate protection, according to a report conducted by scientists. Expanding the open pit mine and extending the operation of the Turów power plant until 2044 would contribute to social losses around the world at the level of USD 41.25 to 55.66 billion due to climate change - researchers are alerting. If PGE does not withdraw from its plans, Poland will be regarded as a country with low global responsibility, not caring about intergenerational justice.

October 29, 2020: „Analysis of the impact of the extension of the Turów mine and power plant on Poland’s climate protection obligations” wrote by Zbigniew M. Karaczun, PhD, Eng, Professor at Warsaw University of Life Sciences and Andrzej Kassenberg, PhD, Institute for Sustainable Development was published. The analysis shows that the Polish Energy Group planned extended operation of the complex until 2044, will have a significant negative impact on the climate.

If the Turów open pit and power plant are expanded, the exploitation and combustion of coal in it will result in carbon dioxide emissions of 194.6 to 261.4 million Mg CO2eq. In order to achieve the goal of limiting the increase in the average global temperature to the level of 1.5 C, the size of the coal budget available to Poland is maximum 3.46 billion Mg. This means that the emissions from Turów alone would consume 34 - 45% of the entire Polish budget.


“Assuming, also following the Stanford University estimates, that the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions amounts to about USD220/Mg CO2eq, it can be concluded that the expansion of the lignite mine and the extension of the operation of the Turów power plant to 2044 could contribute to the global social losses due to climate change at the level of USD 41.25 to 55.66 billion”– the report says. These data, according to the authors, prove that “the precautionary and prevention principles have not been taken into account when the decision to expand the Turów power plant and continue the extraction of lignite was made. This venture should also be deemed incompatible with the provisions of Article 2 of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement”.

„The impact of the Turów mine and power plant operation on the global climate will aggravate a number of negative effects that already persist in the vicinity of these facilities: water scarcity and the expansion of the depression cone around the mine, air pollution, reduction of biodiversity” – highlight the researchers. 

Poland has to start taking the climate crisis seriously. For ethical, political, economic and legal reasons

Poland is a Contracting Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and has ratified the Paris Agreement to this Convention. Legal commitments relating to climate protection and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions also result from Polish membership in the European Union, which has committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. And despite the fact that Poland was the only member state not to accept climate neutrality, sooner or later he will have to agree on it, at least for economic reasons. According to the current project of the Recovery Fund, Poland may receive EUR 4 billion from the Just Transition Fund, but half of it will be frozen until Polish authorities agree to the EU's climate goals.

– Given that the climate is a common good, and considering the need to be guided by the precautionary and prevention principles, abandonment or a major reduction of lignite mining and limiting the operation of the Turów power plant would contribute significantly to this says PhD Andrzej Kassenberg – At the same time, it would contribute to achieving the climate neutrality required by the Paris Agreement and the EU's commitments. On the other hand, maintaining the operation of the mine and power plant as planned will make it more difficult to meet these commitments. It would put Poland in the position of a country with a low level of global responsibility and no concern for intergenerational justice.

– The activity of Turów is in breach of a number of EU and global legal acts. Apart from those mentioned in the report, it is worth mentioning, for example, the Water Framework Directive – adds Kuba Gogolewski from the Polish Foundation “Development YES - Open Pit Mines NO" ”– On account of one company's greed, the entire society is the entire society is exposed to economic, legal and health consequences.Turow must be closed if we do not want to contribute to the realization of worst-case scenario of the climate catastrophe.

Full report: https://rozwojtak-odkrywkinie.pl/en/publications?download=18:analysis-of-the-impact-of-the-extension-of-the-turow-mine-and-power-plant-on-poland-s-climate-protection-obligations

Photo: Turow_credit_Greenpeace_Ruben Neugebauer

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