Poland hosts two very different climate change summits this week
As of Monday, Poland will be host to two climate change summits: One organized by the United Nations and the other by the World Coal Association.
The two-day International Coal and Climate Summit in Warsaw is looking to improve coal's reputation by focusing on clean coal technology.
The summit will feature some of the world's largest coal companies, senior policy-makers, business leaders, academics and NGO representatives, gathered to discuss the role of coal in the global economy, in the context of the climate change agenda.
Poland's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Janusz Piechociński will open the event at the Ministry of Economy.
Meanwhile, UN climate talks will head into their second and final week in the country.
Environmentalist see this double-booking as a distraction from climate change discussions.
In an open letter to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Greenpeace wrote:
"It is outrageous that the World Coal Summit… will take place at the beginning of the second week of the climate negotiations… We would not like events promoting the most polluting of industries to become associated with solving climate change. While we recognize that the focus of the Coal and Climate Summit is so-called “clean coal”, in our view this ranks among the most desperate of myths spun by the coal industry in a frantic bid to survive."
Figueres responded, telling Reuters that she would "speak to the coal industry to show them that they can and must immediately deploy policies and technologies to lower their industry's carbon footprint more swiftly and urgently."
The involvement of Poland's politicians in the World Coal Association summit is not surprising. The country was the world's 10th biggest producer of electricity from coal and peat in 2011, AFP reports. In 2012 Poland was the world's ninth-biggest coal producer.