Choose language

9 listopada 2020

Turów operations against the precautionary and prevention principles

The Polish Ministry of Climate released the full content of the decision on the Turów mine concession issued on 20th of March 2020. To justify this mining concession of the Turów open pit until 2026, the necessity of rational management of resources was brought up, in accordance with the principle of sustainable development. The Ministry ensures it is thereby acting "in a justified, scientifically based manner, consistent with the public interest”. It is worth comparing these words with an analysis of "the impact of the development of the Turów mine and power plant on the Polish Climate protection commitments", written by scientists. The authors of the study write that "when deciding to expand the Turów power plant and to continue the exploitation of lignite from the nearby mine, the principles of precaution and prevention were not taken into account. Will Poland actually begin to base its opinions on scientific grounds and give up its efforts to mine in Turów after 2026?

1. The analysis confirms the Turów’s negative impact on the climate

On 27 October 2020, the "Analysis of the impact of the expansion of Turów mine and power plant on Polish commitments to climate protection" was published. It was written in July this year by PhD Zbigniew Karaczun from Warsaw SGGW university and PhD Andrzej Kassenberg from the Institute for Sustainable Development. It clearly shows that the extended operation of the facility until 2044, which PGE is seeking, will have a significant negative impact on the climate. If the Turów open pit is expanded and the operation of the power plant prolonged, coal mining and combustion will result in carbon dioxide emissions ranging from 194.6 to 261.4 million Mg CO2eq. To achieve the goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the size of the carbon budget available to Poland is a maximum of 3.46 billion Mg. This means that the emissions from Turow alone would consume 34-45% of the entire Polish carbon budget. "According to Stanford University's estimates that the social costs of greenhouse gas emissions contribute about 220 USD/Mg CO2eq, it can be determined that the expansion of the lignite mine and extending the operation of the Turów power plant until 2044 may contribute to social losses worldwide as a result of climate change in the range of 41.25 to 55.66 billion USD" - we read in the report. According to the authors, this data proves that "when deciding to expand the Turów power plant and further exploit lignite, the precautionary and preventive principles were not taken into account. This initiative should also be regarded as against the provisions of Article 2 of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement". "The impact that the Turów mine and power plant activity will have on the global climate will intensify many of the negative phenomena that already occur in the proximity of these facilities: water deficit and the expansion of the depression cone around the mine, air pollution, reduction of biodiversity". - emphasize the scientists. "The authors of the report indicate that climate is a common good, and that the principles of precaution and prevention should also be followed when implementing this type of investment. They point out that abandonment or significant reduction of the activity of the Turów complex would significantly contribute to climate protection. - At the same time, it would be a step towards achieving the climate neutrality set by the Paris Agreement and the European Union's commitments in this respect". - Barbara Oksińska, journalist of the Rzeczpospolita daily, about the report.

  1. https://www.rp.pl/Wegiel/310299888-Potezne-koszty-spoleczne-kopalni-Turow.html?fbclid=IwAR2FayUhfXBRUrEs_EIN57CV2NPj2k6o8eqXRihjia3krXnfC2qG7c9xEy8
  2. https://rozwojtak-odkrywkinie.pl/publikacje?download=17:analiza-wplywu-rozbudowy-kopalni-i-elektrowni-w-turowie-na-polskie-zobowia-zania-w-zakresie-ochrony-klimatu 
  3. https://www.parkiet.com/Surowce-i-paliwa/310309976-PGE-Miliardowe-koszty.html

2. The Climate Ministry is publishing the content of the mining concession

The Ministry of Climate has released the full content of the decision on the mining concession for the Turów mine issued on 20 March 2020. Until recently it has not been publicly available. We have written more about it here.

According to the decision, the concession for the extraction of lignite and accompanying minerals from the "Turów" lignite deposit was granted until 30 April 2026.

The justification states that "in the opinion of the concession authority, the continuation of the extraction of lignite and associated minerals from the Turów deposit is consistent with the principle of rational management of the mineral deposit. The proposed change allows the continuation of mineral extraction and, consequently, the operation of the power plant providing 7% of the national electricity demand, which means that the decision in question corresponds to the public interest. In the light of Article 3 point 13 a of the Act of 27 April 2001. - Environmental Protection Law - (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 1396 as amended) the essence of environmental protection is, among other things, the rational management of its resources, in accordance with the sustainable development principle. Although there is no official definition of the rational management of mineral deposits and rational management of environmental resources, it boils down to rational conduct in a justified manner, based on scientific grounds and consistent with the public interest. The expression of the latter is indisputably the security of raw materials and energy".

The full document is available here.

3 The European Commission responded to a petition on the defence of the Turów complex

In June 2020, the senior citizens, mayors of the municipalities of Zgorzelec, Bolesławiec and Lubańska sent Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, a petition against the closure of the Turów mine and power plant in Bogatynia. The local government representatives who signed the petition expressed their "concern about the actions of our Czech neighbors aimed at bringing about the closure of the Turów mining and power plant complex". They are afraid that the mine and power plant may be closed and jobs may be lost.

Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, responded to the petition. " Based on a complaint regarding the extension of the concession of the Turów mine, the Commission asked the Polish authorities for information on the application of the requirements of EU environmental law in this case. After clarifying all relevant facts, the Commission will be able to determine whether there has been a violation of the EU environmental law. I would like to assure you that the Commission is fully aware of the complexity of this case and is examining it with the utmost care.” - wrote Florika FINK-HOOIJER on behalf of the President

The letter to the Association for the Development of Energy Innovation in Zgorzelec also emphasized Poland's obligations resulting from the Paris Agreement and the EU climate targets. It also noted that "the Commission is ready to support Member States in achieving climate neutrality, including through the future fair transition mechanism".

  1. https://powiatzgorzelecki.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Reply-to-petition_Turow-9_PL.docx.pdf
  2. https://wroclaw.tvp.pl/50619203/ke-rozumie-obawy-dotyczace-miejsc-pracy-ciag-dalszy-sporu-o-kompleks-turow
  3. https://energetyka24.com/ke-odpowiedziala-na-petycje-w-obronie-kompleksu-turow
  4. https://www.pb.pl/ke-odpowiedziala-na-petycje-w-sprawie-obrony-kompleksu-turow-1007208?smclient=daa51d96-3864-4ff4-a709-d5ecd3d28937
  5. https://www.wnp.pl/energetyka/ke-rozumie-troske-o-miejsca-pracy-w-kopalni-i-elektrowni-turow,428399.html
  6. https://nettg.pl/news/171832/ke-odpowiedziala-na-petycje-w-sprawie-obrony-kompleksu-turow
  7. https://niezalezna.pl/361003-komisja-europejska-odpowiada-na-petycje-w-sprawie-obrony-kompleksu-turow

4. The strike referendum

Lignite trade unionists are not satisfied with the new strategy of the PGE Group announced on 19 October 2020. The company plans to change the key development directions, which from now on will include wind, offshore and onshore power, photovoltaics, grid infrastructure, low-emission heating and energy services.

The unionists do not like, in particular, the prospect of separating the coal assets of the entire company into a new entity.

- From 3 to 20 November the strike referendum will be held in the whole PGE GiEK group. We expect talks with the CEO of PGE in the presence of the CEO of PGE GiEK. We want these talks to be attended by decision-makers. [...] If there is no response from the Management Board of PGE, a warning strike may follow the referendum - said Bogumił Tyszkiewicz, President of the Federation of Lignite Mining Trade Unions based in Wrocław, for WNP.PL.

  1. https://www.wnp.pl/gornictwo/wegiel-brunatny-rozgrzany-do-czerwonosci-moze-byc-goraco,428802.html

5. Will Turów benefit from the Just TransitionFund?

In order to benefit from the European Just Transition Fund, the mining region must present decarbonization plans by 2030. Therefore, Bogatynia together with the entire region of Zgorzelec cannot currently apply for these funds. The problem is the ongoing procedure of obtaining a concession for PGE to extract coal deposits from an open-pit mine by 2044, as well as a new block of Turów power plant, which is to be completed in spring 2021. The European Commission has already referred to this issue on several occasions and stressed that without changing the plans and setting a date for shutting down the units in the Turów power plant and setting a date for the completion of lignite extraction from the Turów open-pit mine by 2030, it is not possible to finance the transformation activities in Turoszów Region with money from the Just Transition Fund.

Despite the clear position of the European Commission, the local governments, the Lower Silesian Voivodeship Board and the Ministry of Finance, Funds and Regional Policy itself express their approval of the need for an early, long-term energy transformation of the region of Zgorzelec and its inclusion in the Territorial Just Transition Plan (which is necessary to benefit from the Fund). The Ministry will recommend the representatives of the European Commission to take into account the possibility of supporting the district of Zgorzelec within the framework of JST. Therefore, the Board of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship is preparing the Regional Plan of Just Trasition, also covering the region of Zgorzelec.

The hearing in the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the (...)
The finished elections in the Czech Republic, contrary to the Polish government's announcements, will (...)
Mining trade union leaders are protesting today at the seat of the Court of (...)
Scientists from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice analyzed the future of the Turów (...)
Parliamentary elections are underway in the Czech Republic. If the new government is more (...)
Polish National Coalition „Development YES - Open Pit Mines NO" submitted comments to the (...)
Luxembourg, 20 September 2021 - Statement from the Europe Beyond Coal campaign groups on (...)
The local Greenpeace group from Upper Lausitz, together with many inhabitants of the region (...)
Turów by Bike - Cycling for a cross-border coal phase-out (...)
IPCC report leaves no doubt: Turów must stop operating at (...)
Power Unit 7 in Turów. Will there be further shutdowns?
The costs of staying with coal
Little chance for the swift conclusion of the dispute
Letter to Virginijus Sinkevičius
Poland has to show its goodwill in the negotiations
Why are you burning our future?
The problem with Turów and polish coal – 10 facts
European Court of Justice orders halt to operations at controversial (...)
Stoping mining in Turów will not lead to a blackout
License that will destroy the region
RES could be the future of Turów
PGE myths vs reality
Other countries may join in the complaint against Turów
Polish response to the Czech request
Poland won't reach out to its neighbours
Escalation of conflict
Turów case as a failure of enforcement of EU law? (...)
Enough with PGE arrogance
Despite criticism from the EU, Poland wants to extend mining (...)
PGE vs rest of the world
Opencast lignite mining in Turow causes dispute at EU level (...)
Lignite’s agony artificially delayed
An open door to the Court of Justice
Turów is a threat to our cultural heritage
The Polish response to Turów case is "unacceptable"
Pressure makes sense. ICPO has decided that Turów is an (...)
People are tweeting about Turów
A problem taller than skyscrapers
Turów operations against the precautionary and prevention principles
News about Turów is spreading in Germany
Who will pay for water for the Turów opencast?
Will Poland face the European Court of Justice because of (...)
PGE needs to put their cards on the table
PGE caught in between
Shoulder to shoulder against the opencast mines. Video report from (...)
In solidarity against Turów and Garzweiler lignite mines. International kayaking (...)
Turów dispute continued
Europe divided on the Tripoint
PETI Committee press release
Let’s meet at the Three-Nations-Point
Leaving lignite is inevitable
PGE deprives region’s opportunity to develop
Turów violates EU water regulations
Turoszow transition
Lot of noise about Turów in June
The European Union takes a closer look at the license (...)
Opencasts under scrutiny of Rzeczpospolita
EURACTIV: Czech lawsuit against Poland?
Post-mining lakes in Turów and Bełchatów
About how the Czechs carried coal through the mountains and (...)
EC replies to the parliamentary question
Banco Santander supports PGE
Does mBank burn coal from Turów mine?
How PGE Turów uses shock
Emissions do not stop at the border
The crisis is a dead cert
The city of Zittau appeals
Poland prolonged the mining licence for Turów
Official PGE statement from 24 March 2020
Thirst for justice: communities take on coal giant for stealing (...)
Response to the parliamentary question on Turów mine
Petition in the European Parliament
Czech citizens filed the petition
Sign petition!
Licencja Creative Commons Content collected on the site are available under a Creative Commons license