WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Hoping to win over EU critics of Poland's recent stance on climate change, the environment minister said Friday that the coal-powered nation will make every effort to pave the way for a lasting deal in 2015 when it hosts a U.N. global warming conference in November.
Last year, Poland vetoed the EU's road map for emissions reductions beyond 2020, drawing sharp criticism from environmental groups and EU officials.
Poland relies on coal for more than 90 percent of its electricity. Aiming to protect coal mining jobs and a major home industry, the government plans to continue relying on coal in the coming decades.
But Environment Minister Marcin Korolec told The Associated Press that Poland has been at the forefront of climate change policy, reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent in recent years, compared to the 6 percent requirement written into the Kyoto Protocol. He said some of Poland's critics in Europe — he didn't name them — hardly met the 6 percent target.
"Emission reduction really took place in Poland, at the price of high social costs" of closing heavy industry and layoffs, Korolec said.
A recent U.N. climate conference agreed to adopt a new global climate pact by 2015 to modify the Kyoto Protocol.
The conference showed that not all countries were following the climate regulations that were supposed to apply to all, said Korolec whose ambition it is to help mend this situation during the conference that opens Nov. 11 in Warsaw.
"I want the meeting in Poland to be a good introduction to the negotiating process. I want us to make this good start," Korolec said.