Poland aims to sign global climate deal amendment this year

WARSAW (Reuters) - Coal-reliant Poland aims to ratify an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emissions this year, making it possible for the European Union to back the pact unanimously, the country’s environment ministry said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Pieces of ice flow on Vistula River next to the Zeran Heat Power Station in the Bialoleka suburb of Warsaw, Poland January 31, 2012. REUTERS/Peter Andrews/Files

EU environment ministers participating in a U.N. climate meeting in Bonn met on Thursday to discuss options for ratifying the 2012 Doha Amendment.

The amendment forms a legal framework for CO2 reduction efforts until 2020, when the Paris climate agreement that more than 200 nations signed in late 2015 kicks in.

“Our aim is to ratify the amendment this year,” the environment ministry spokesman told Reuters, adding that ratification still needs to go through the regular legislative process including approval from parliament and the president.

The EU needs unanimous backing by member states to ratify the amendment as a whole and Poland is the only EU state yet to sign.

An European Commission representative said the intention is to deposit the ratification instrument of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol by the end of the year.

Last year Poland, which generates most of its electricity in outdated coal-fired power stations, said it was willing to back the ratification if the European Commission guaranteed financing for new, cleaner coal-fired plants.

The oldest and least effective plants will have to be closed in coming years under EU regulations targeting emission cuts.

To avert blackouts, Poland’s government has accelerated its efforts to build new ones it says will reduce emissions. It is also considering building a nuclear power plant or developing offshore wind farms.

The Doha Amendment must be endorsed by at least 140 countries for it to come into force. As of the end of October, 84 countries had ratified it, according to the United Nations’ climate website.

Governments and diplomats from around the world are meeting in Bonn from Nov. 6-17 to work on the details of implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which succeeds the Kyoto Protocol and aims to end the fossil fuel era by 2100.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Additional reporting by Nina Chestney in Bonn; Editing by David Evans and David Goodman