Science: Poland out of step with Europe on climate

Frustrations with Poland are growing in the European Union after the coal-powered nation for a second time blocked the EU's long-term plans for cutting carbon emissions. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU's executive commission would press ahead with plans for a low-carbon economy despite Poland's objections.

While Warsaw hasn't objected to that far-off goal, it has resisted intermediate targets. Last year it vetoed the road map over a reference to raising the EU's reduction target to 25 percent by 2020, from the current target of 20 percent.

When that part was scratched in the latest plan, put before environment ministers on Friday, Poland objected instead to midterm targets of 40 percent emissions cuts by 2030 and 60 percent by 2040, said Danish Climate Minister Martin Lidegaard, who chaired the talks.

It's unclear how the EU's executive commission will proceed now because the EU's carbon targets require unanimous approval. Thomas Spencer, a research fellow in climate and energy economics at the Paris-based think tank IDDRI, said Poland's veto could mean that Europe runs out of time in pinning down its post-2020 emissions targets in time for 2015, the deadline set for a new global climate pact.

Korolec also argued that the EU shouldn't have an overly ambitious roadmap going into negotiations for a new global climate treaty because other parts of the world "will ask us for even more."

Climate activists, including in Poland, blasted the country's veto. Greenpeace said Poland "is adding to its image of an outdated economy and is holding back progress for the entire continent," while the Climate Action Network said the veto was bad news for both Europe and Poland.