August 28, 2015 / 11:12 AM / in 2 years

Poland's Law and Justice party favours non-binding UN climate deal

3 Min Read

* Poland's Law and Justice likely to win parliamentary election

* Party says Poland to benefit if climate summit not binding

By Agnieszka Barteczko

WARSAW, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Poland's conservative opposition Law and Justice party (PiS) is hoping that a United Nations' climate deal later this year will be non-binding, which could enable it to renegotiate current European Union emissions laws.

Nearly 200 countries meet in Paris from Nov. 30 to thrash out a U.N. accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 2020.

PiS looks poised to win a parliamentary election on Oct. 25. The party, in alliance with two smaller conservative parties, has a lead over the ruling Civic Platform, opinion polls show.

Poland has long argued for special dispensation under EU emissions rules because it generates its electricity mainly from highly polluting coal. This will not change if PiS wins elections in October, a member of the party told Reuters.

"Any binding stance that would be accepted at the conference in Paris will be harmful to Poland, so a failure of the summit is in Poland's interest," parliamentarian Piotr Naimski said.

Pledges to cut emissions so far fall short of a goal to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius and another problem is how to make the deal legally binding. Some countries favour a binding international treaty but others want a deal anchored in domestic laws.

"If there is no agreement at the global level, there will be no reason for the current EU regulations on CO2 emission reductions to be maintained. This should mean that they will renegotiable," Naimski said.

EU leaders struck a deal last October on a new target to cut emissions across the 28-nation bloc by at least 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, but this have yet to be translated into binding EU law.

The main way of achieving those cuts will be through the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS), which forces more than 12,000 power plants, factories and airlines to surrender one carbon permit for every tonne they emit.

Naimski, who served as Poland's deputy economy minister in 2005-2007, said that if PiS wins the elections it will try to convince the EU that Poland needs "special" solutions due to its "unique" coal-based energy sector.

He added that Poland quitting the ETS "is not impossible". (Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Pawel Sobczak in Warsaw; editing by Nina Chestney and David Evans)

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