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Coal-dependent Poland's environmental dilemma

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Coal-dependent Poland's environmental dilemma


Poland’s attachment to its coal industry is easy to explain. The country gets more than 90 percent of its electricity from the black stuff and it is by far the biggest coal producer in the European Union.

Warsaw fears the “climate change deal” could damage its economic growth and lead to a rise in energy prices. And the jobs of more than 115,00 people are at stake, as is their way of life.

“I have worked here for 22 years,” said one miner from Katowice. “If they start closing down the mines, a lot of us will lose our jobs.”

On the streets too, many are anxious about the consequences of the deal for Poland and its people.

“Protection of the environment is important but so is work for the miners,” said one woman in Katowice. “And there are a lot of miners in Poland and they all have families to support.”

But green campaigners believe Poland should cut its reliance on coal and switch to more environmentally-friendly sources of energy.

With a major UN-led conference on climate change taking place in the Polish city of Poznan, activists have used the opportunity to try to get their message across.

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