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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Polish Environment Minister Sacked As Warsaw Climate Talks Continue

 The climate meetings have not been great.  China and India both refused to see lower carbon emission levels.  This change in Poland forbears possible further investment and dependence on fossil fuels.  Certainly the US needs to step up and show more leadership, including setting a carbon price on economic activity that comes with a heavy environmental price.

This country, the world needs to set a different playing field, using today's data and science, to encourage smart growth.

Marcin Korolec won't lose his title until next week, but activists are concerned his demotion will further reduce the momentum of ongoing UN negotiations.

Members of civil society pose for a photograph after walking out of the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. November 21, 2013. Photo: Luke Vargas/TRNS.

WARSAW, POLAND (TRNS) – For Talk Radio News Service, this is Luke Vargas, reporting from Warsaw Poland.
“We are not disrespecting the United Nations or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is the individual positions that the governments bring here that is holding up this process.”
That was Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace, as a large contingent of NGO participants at the ongoing U.N. climate talks in Warsaw walked out of the conference this afternoon.
The 800-person walkout prompted a statement from the chair of the talks, Poland’s Marcin Korolec, who said NGO’s mobilize negotiations to greater efforts and ambitions, and that NGO’s and the conference see eye-to-eye when it comes to climate priorities.
The NGO’s participating in today’s walkout passionately disagreed, with a joint statement from Oxfam, the World Wildlife Foundation, and 11 other groups criticizing the Polish government for plastering the logos of big polluting corporate interests over the venue and putting corporate interests of dirty energy industries over those of global citizens.
In another odd storyline generated by the Polish government, Prime Minister shook up his cabinet yesterday, sacking Korolec from his job as environmental minister, though he will continue to preside over these talks.
“Minister Korolec was certainly a bad minister, and he did deserve being exchanged,” said Iwo Łoś of Greenpeace Poland. “However, the moment in which the Prime Minister took this decision is a very very bad moment. So now firing him means that he get’s a weaker mandate to steer the [U.N. climate] process.”
It didn’t take long for Korolec’s replacement, Maciej Grabowski, to reveal there’s little reason to think he’ll be any more of a comfort to Poland’s environmental community.
In a speech after the announcement of his appointment, Grabowski, a former finance official, said he’s eager to set about maximizing the harvesting of Poland’s shale gas reserves.
Poland, meet fracking.

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