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Sandbag has written to the Polish government (in Polish) on ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union. Tomorrow Member States will decide whether to ratify at the extraordinary ENVI Council meeting in Brussels. Poland who was a proud leader of the December 2015 negotiations is today hesitating on casting its yes vote.

Poland is changing the course and will most likely agree to the early ratification of the Paris Agreement if the EU makes sure it’s not a precedent. Picture used under Creative Commons License

What is at stake? The global deal can only take effect when 55 countries accounting for 55% of global emissions ratify it. Now 61 nations with a 47.8%share in the world’s emissions have joined, and this includes the world’s top emitters, China and the USA. If the EU representing 12% of global emissions agrees on ratification the Paris Agreement will come into force in no time.

On Monday Polish Minister for Environment, Jan Szyszko, called upon other European Union Ministers to support his view that the Paris Agreement can only come into force if Poland can continue to primarily use coal to generate energy.

He said in his letter:

We are not ignoring the problems of climate protection, because we are reducing, and shall continue to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, we shall do this basing on modern technologies, the use of ecological engineering, RES in the form of water energy, geothermal energy and the development of storage facilities for coal accumulated in wood.

Sandbag has brought to the Polish Ministers’ attention that the early ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU doesn’t mean endorsing its implementation instruments.

The fast response from the government representatives have been encouraging, in that the Polish hesitate in supporting an early ratification in order to avoid creating a precedent for the EU to make decisions before the Member States. The Polish government announced the formal start of the ratification process last week in which the Minister for Environment placed a motion to the government to sign the deal. It leaves hope that tomorrow’s discussion will be a discussion of the willing.

Sandbag reads the Polish plea to other Member States as a sign that Europe needs an open discussion about how the Paris Agreement could be implemented. First the Paris Agreement needs to be in place for Poland to bring their arguments to the table. A good place to present the world with these options will be the 22nd COP in Marrakesh this November, where the leaders will discuss practical solutions. If the EU ratifies the Agreement before October 7th it will enter into force still in time before the conference.

Ola Mirowicz, Sandbag’s lead on the Member States outreach, commented:

It will be embarrassing for the European Union if we are seen to be falling behind on Ratification when the Member States fought so strongly for the Paris Agreement. Tomorrow, Poland has a chance to show its continuous leadership in in this process, but should not worry that they are committing the country to specific policies. These can be negotiated once the Paris Agreement is in force.

Sandbag shared ideas on how Poland could evolve its mitigation instruments with the help of EU funding in our recent speech at the Polish Economic Forum. We wrote a blog about that earlier this month.