November 27, 2018 / 9:24 AM / 18 days ago

Greenpeace activists climb Poland's biggest power plant in coal protest

WARSAW (Reuters) - Greenpeace activists climbed a 180-metre (590 feet) chimney at a power station in Belchatow, central Poland, on Tuesday to protest Warsaw’s coal policies ahead of U.N. climate talks this month.

The state-run plant is Poland’s biggest power producer, Europe’s largest polluter and one of the biggest coal power plants in the world.

Nine activists climbed an internal ladder to the top of the conical chimney at the plant, which is fueled by lignite and belongs to PGE.

Activists say Poland’s dependence on coal and the disputes between the conservative nationalist government and the European Union could make the climate talks difficult.

“I am from a mining family, we have been connected to coal mining for generations. There is no future in coal. What we need is a just transition from coal and fossil fuels to renewables,” Marek Jozefiak, an activist climbing the chimney said.

Last week the energy ministry said in a draft document that by 2030 60 percent of power will come from coal and existing onshore wind farms will disappear.

Poland also plans to replace some coal with nuclear power plant, photovoltaics and offshore wind farms by 2040.

“The draft ignores the threats and challenges resulting from the climate crises and proves that the energy minister completely does not understand the changes, which take place in the world’s energy,” Pawel Szypulski from Greenpeace said.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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