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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Marcin Korolec, chair of the U.N. climate change talks in Warsaw, fired by Polish government for not speeding up regulations for expanding fracking

Marcin Korolec
Marcin Korolec, chair of the U.N. climate change talks in Warsaw that run through Friday, was sacked from his job as Polish environment minister on Wednesday, reportedly for failing to speed up regulations to expand shale gas exploitation. (Alik Keplicz, Associated Press, November 20, 2013)

by Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2013
Expectations of progress were already low for the United Nations climate conference in Poland this week, but few delegates were probably prepared for the latest stumbles.
Ten days into Poland's role as host of the two-week U.N. gathering, Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday fired the conference president, Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, Polskie Radio and other national media reported.
Tusk clarified later that Korolec would continue representing Poland in the climate talks through the country's stint in the rotating presidency that runs through the end of 2014.
But climate change activists warned that Korolec's loss of government backing undermines his clout in pressing delegates to commit to emissions reductions.
"At such a crucial time, this shows how little interest the Polish government has in reaching a deal at the climate talks," Friends of the Earth campaigner Urszula Stefanowicz told Bloomberg after Tusk's Cabinet shuffle. "Korolec will have no real political power."
Worse, said Greenpeace Poland director Maciej Muskat, Tusk said he was replacing Korolec to speed up development of Poland's shale gas industry.
"This is nuts," Muskat said of the government shake-up in the middle of the huge U.N. meeting. "Furthermore, justifying the change of minister by the need to push the exploitation of another fossil fuel in Poland is beyond words."
The Warsaw meeting of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which began Nov. 11, has also been marred by the Polish government's simultaneous hosting of a coal industry conference and a walkout staged Tuesday by developing nations.
China, India, South Africa and Brazil, among others, insist the initial burden of reducing greenhouse gases should be on the United States and Europe, where rapid industrialization in past centuries created the global warming trend.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Warsaw gathering Wednesday to urge member state finance ministers to make conversion to renewable energy sources a priority.
"This can do more than anything to unlock the huge investment necessary for climate change adaptation and mitigation," Ban said of the need to replace fossil fuels with clean energy sources by 2020. "We must send the right policy signals."
The Warsaw meeting was intended to make progress toward a 2015 agreement on specific reductions to be made by member states to reach the goal of cutting greenhouse gases to 20% below their 1990 levels by the end of this decade.
A meeting of the climate group in Copenhagen in 2009 ended without agreement after similar disputes over specific carbon reduction commitments.

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