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Poland seeks a rethink of its EU climate policy amid rising energy costs

Poland seeks a rethink of its EU climate policy amid rising energy costs

BRUSSELS, Oct 18, Poland on Monday urged the European Union to cancel or delay parts of its climate change strategy ahead of a summit where EU leaders will debate their response to rising gas and electricity prices.

The EU country leaders, who meet on Thursday and Friday, are divided on whether short-term measures like tax cuts are sufficient to address the recent energy price increase, or whether deeper reforms of EU energy regulation are needed.

Poland said in a letter sent to other countries ahead of the EU summit that Brussels should change or delay parts of its climate goals, warning that if an "excessive burden" is placed on consumers, they may reject the Union's climate objectives.

"We should examine in detail all elements of the Fit for 55 package that may have a negative impact on the energy price and consider their revision or postponement," the paper stated.

"Fit for 55" refers to the EU's policy plan to reduce emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.

The article, which was first published by Reuters, praised the EU's ambition to create a carbon market for transport and buildings, but some countries have objected to it because of fears it might raise consumer bills. The European Commission has stated that a new multi-billion-euro EU fund would protect vulnerable consumers from price increases.

Poland has also said that the EU should respect its current minimum energy tax rates. Brussels wants to overhaul the system to eliminate kerosene tax exemptions - a move supported by countries like the Netherlands and France -- and increase tax rates on other polluting fuels.

EU tax changes must be approved by the entire EU, so one country can block them.

Whrend andere states have warned that high energy prices may derail ambitious climate policies, Poland's demands are likely to be met by opposition from countries that claim that the recent gas price increase should encourage Europe to accelerate its green transition away from fluctuating fossil fuel prices.

Meeting the EU's legally binding climate goals will necessitate massive investments. Brussels claims that this will create jobs and economic growth in green industries, while the cost of not tackling climate change would be considerably higher, in the form of devastating floods, droughts and wildfires.

Poland also called on the EU to create new financing mechanisms to combat energy poverty, limit speculators' participation in the European carbon market, and establish a gas storage obligation for each EU country.

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