UN climate conference 2018 heads to heartland of Polish coal – by Karl Mathiesen (Climate Change News – June 1, 2017)


The pivotal 2018 UN climate conference will be held in the heart of Poland’s coal mining industry, in a move that has angered some campaigners but offered others hope that it symbolises transition away from fossil fuels. The town of Katowice – founded on coal mining – is in the heart of the Upper Silesian coal basin and plays host to one of the European mining industry’s biggest trade fairs.

The choice of town was announced by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the day US president Donald Trump was expected to leave the Paris climate agreement.Poland has long been a reluctant participant in the UN process, dragged into an ambitious EU negotiating bloc but influenced by the powerful domestic coal industry.

Climate Home revealed this week that the country is now part of a concerted effort by eastern European countries to water down the EU laws that would help keep the promises made under the accord.

The presidency of a COP is vital for ensuring that the diplomacy runs smoothly. In Paris, the French presidency was one of the pivotal factors in coercing 197 nations to sign up to a deal that forced all to make deep compromises.

UNFCCC chair Patricia Espinosa said in a statement that governments were expected to reach “key milestones” at the 2018 conference.

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