Poland names coal companies partners for COP24 climate talks

Poland's capital Warsaw is shrouded in a thick layer of smog on January 9, 2017 as coal and waste-fired home furnaces drive up air pollution to the highest levels recorded in years (AFP Photo/JANEK SKARZYNSKI) (AFP/File)

Warsaw (AFP) - Poland on Tuesday named the EU's largest producer of high-quality coking coal among several coal-sector companies that it chose to partner with the UN's COP 24 global climate summit opening this weekend in the southern coal city of Katowice.

Polish Environment minister Henryk Kowalczyk told reporters in Warsaw that the state-owned JSW company along with coal-based energy companies PGE and Tauron were chosen as partners for the global talks aimed at reducing global warming through cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Poland's PZU insurance giant, its PKO BP bank and the PGNiG natural gas company are also sponsors. All six companies are state-owned.

Relying primarily on coal for some 80 percent of its energy, Poland is among the EU's most polluted members.

In a policy paper published this week, its right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government said it aims to reduce reliance on coal to 60 percent by 2030 by boosting renewables and adding nuclear energy to its mix.

The UN's climate chief Patricia Espinosa insists the summit in Poland must produce a detailed programme to move the Paris climate accord forward.

World leaders have been trying to breathe new life into the 195-nation Paris Agreement amid backsliding from several nations -- most notably the United States -- over commitments made when it was signed in December 2015.

It is to take effect in 2020 and calls for limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Experts warn that the global measure is on track to surpass three degrees by 2100 and urge governments they must now do even more than first planned if global warming is to be reined in at all.