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Businesses And NGOs Urge Poland To Bet On Climate In Recovery Plan

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WARSAW: Environmental organisations and business lobby groups urged Poland’s government on Monday to include their proposals on climate, the environment and digitalisation in the country’s post-pandemic recovery plan.

Poland, which is heavily reliant on polluting coal-fired power stations, will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the European Union’s 750 billion euro ($900 billion) fund to help member states recover from the coronavirus crisis.

While the EU wants its massive stimulus package to help build a greener and more digital bloc, more than a dozen business and environmental groups say they fear Poland’s recovery plan won’t address these issues sufficiently.

The deadline for submitting national plans is April 30 and Poland is set to receive 57 billion euros from Brussels as part of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

But conservation group WWF Poland said the content of the country’s plan remained a mystery.

WWF Poland and a dozen non-government organisations, business groups and think-tanks, including ClientEarth and Lewiatan Confederation, have now written to the government to urge it to include all stakeholders in drafting the document.

“We – social organisations and entrepreneurs – call for dialogue and our active inclusion in the process of jointly drafting reforms and projects under the National Recovery Plan. We fear the funds will be used to support low-quality projects created without consulting the society,” WWF Poland said.

In the letter to be submitted to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday, the groups listed all their proposals, which include solutions for water protection, transportation, and schemes to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Poland’s Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy said it planned to start public consultations on the recovery plan document in two or three weeks.

“Individual stakeholders, including employers, will have time to refer to the project and present proposals for supplements,” the ministry said, adding that it will submit the document by the deadline, or earlier.

Poland is the only EU state that has refused to pledge climate neutrality by 2050, saying it needs more time and funds to switch its economy to clean energy sources.

Under the pressure from the EU and rising emission costs, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has encouraged investment in renewable energy, but it has also courted political support from miners for years by promising to sustain the industry.

($1 = 0.8304 euros)

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