EU should scrap emissions trading scheme, Polish official says


EMISSIONS Trading System should be scrapped or Poland should be exempted from the scheme to free up funds for Warsaw to fight the effects of the coronavirus, a senior Polish official told Reuters.

Under the Emissions Trading System the EU charges for the right to emit carbon dioxide and European power generators, industrial emitters and airlines running flights within the EU must buy permits to cover their emissions.

“The results of fighting coronavirus will be painful. It is obvious that countries will be looking for extra money to help their business and citizens,” Janusz Kowalski, Deputy Minister of State Assets, told Reuters on 17 March.

“Poland and other countries should take care of the climate on their own, and the Emissions Trading System should be removed from 1 January, 2021, or at least Poland should be excluded from the system.”

The coronavirus has killed five people and infected 205 in Poland, which has barred foreigners from entering, shut schools and capped public gatherings at 50 people.

Mr Kowalski suggested the government could discuss the proposal after the coronavirus has peaked.

Poland generates most of its electricity from coal.

Mr Kowalski said he would expect other states in central and eastern Europe to support the proposal.

Poland is the only EU state that refused at a December summit to commit to climate neutrality by 2050.

When asked about Kowalski’s remarks by Reuters, the EU executive, the European Commission, said it could not speculate on the potential implications of COVID-19 in individual policy areas.

The Commission spokesperson said: “While our immediate focus is on combating COVID-19, our work on delivering the European Green Deal continues.

“The climate crisis is still a reality and necessitates our continued attention and efforts.”