When, as part of his anti-fossil fuels offensive, former-President Barrack Obama targeted coal mining, it spelled an unmitigated disaster for the business owners and their employees.
The same has occurred under our current president, Joe Biden.
To save the environment, you must kill businesses and jobs.
It's a universal trope applicable to anywhere in the developed world.
Recently, Czechia, backed by the European Union, has butted heads with Poland over the brown coal-fueled power plant in Turów. The lignite mine-cum-plant supplies circa 10 million people (out of the Polish population of about 40 million.)
But it's also a major regional polluter.
Its air-born fallout most directly impacts both Germany and the Czech Republic.
The Czechs patiently asked the Poles for years to solve the problem.
Warsaw remained deaf, hoping the problem would go away.
One expects China to ignore its neighbors and global public opinion.
And Bejing does: Sorry, the times are tough; the economy is weak; and we have to rely on brown coal some more. Too bad it pollutes so much, but, you know, there are jobs and economic growth at stake.
Too bad for the environment, the Chinese deadpan.
Although that means punching well above their weight, the Poles have tried a similar tack.
The Czechs listened patiently for a long while, but then no more. They sued Poland. The European Union, ever eager to kick the Law and Justice (PiS) Polish government, joined in the fray.
In May, the European Commission demanded the operations be frozen.
Then, in September, the European Court of Justice ordered the enterprise shuttered.
It also assessed a hefty fine: the Poles are obliged to pay $560,000.00 daily for non-compliance.
Prague is right in some ways.
Warsaw ignored the problem for too long.
It needlessly allowed the situation to deteriorate.
The parties are back at the negotiating table, but bi-lateral talks seem sluggish with more backtracking than breakthroughs. The initial clumsiness of the Poles visibly annoyed the Czechs and made them needlessly more truculent than necessary.
Prague failed to seek viable arbitration; it went straight to the EU court.
The Czech stance was exacerbated by the electoral parliamentary campaign which has just terminated in the Czech Republic. The post-Communists and populists are out; a new government is taking shape.
Perhaps it will tone down its belligerence toward Poland and work out a deal.
Prague’s current maximalist position is unsustainable from the point of view of bilateral relations. Czechia wants the Turów installation shut down altogether, and so does the EU.
Poland refuses to mothball the plant because of the economic, political, and security costs that would entail.
Three things to consider are:
- First, the plant employs thousands. Shuttering it, massive unemployment would ensue.
- Second, Many Turów workers support the PiS government, and throwing them under the bus would cost the ruling coalition dearly in votes.
- Third, as far as national security, shuttering Turów would threaten Poland. Warsaw has hardly any other energy sources. It cannot afford to pay more for imports.
Energy costs are through the roof. To appease Germany, the Biden administration has blessed Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline. Moscow immediately raised energy prices.
The Europeans moan in unison.
Germany relies in 43% only and Czechia in 54% on coal for their domestic energy needs.
The Poles cover 80% of their own energy needs from coal, mostly black coal. They have neither gas nor oil. They are forced to turn to domestic energy sources or they will freeze.
To appease the EU, they already have invested in windmills and other similar projects, which, critics charge, is bogus politically correct technology. It's unsustainable in terms of costs and disappointing in terms of energy outputs.
My Australian friend David Archibald tells me not to worry.
According to him, we are in an era of global cooling, not warming, so Poland will have to stick to coal because other fossil fuels will run out sooner or later.
David is not crazy. He was the first to corelate explosions on the sun with the changes in climate on Earth. He was duly recognized by the Norwegian Royal Academy (the Nobel Prize folks), and a recent study by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Technical University of Denmark confirmed his observations.
On the bright side, there are joint American-Polish plans for nuclear power plants.
Unfortunately, both Germany and Russia oppose them.
Poland should go nuclear nonetheless. Joe Biden will not like it, though.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.
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