Greenpeace Poland sues largest carbon emitter in the country

Warsaw, Poland — Greenpeace Poland filed a lawsuit today against PGE GiEK, a subsidiary of state-owned utility PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, at the Regional Court in Łódź. Greenpeace demands that PGE GiEK stop any further fossil fuel investments and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its existing coal plants by 2030 at the latest.

Greenpeace Poland director Paweł Szypulski, said: 

“Three in every four Poles agree that our economy needs to quit coal in the next decade, which is exactly what scientists have said we need to do in order to limit the most negative impacts of climate change. Greenpeace Poland is suing PGE GiEK on behalf of the environment and the public. We are seeking to establish a national deadline to phase out coal and decarbonize the country by 2030. Prime Minister Morawiecki has failed to deliver on that commitment, so we are going after the single biggest source of carbon emissions in our country to get it done.”

“A coal phase out paired
with dynamic growth of renewable energy sources is the only way forward for PGE
GiEK and the whole energy sector in Poland. Rapid closure of coal-fired power
plants will put an end to the destruction of our environment while renewable
energy can provide solutions to the climate crisis we are facing.”

PGE Polska Grupa
Energetyczna is the biggest utility in Poland. About 90% of the power produced
by the PGE conglomerate comes from burning coal. By its own account, PGE GiEK
mines and burns between 85% to 90% of lignite in the country and is its biggest
power producer, covering as much as 36% of the country’s electricity needs
during some months. In 2018 alone, PGE GiEK’s carbon emissions amounted to
approximately 57 million tonnes. The company added more coal units in Opole and
Turów since then. On average, PGE GiEK generates about 20% of Poland’s total
annual carbon emissions.

The lawsuit against PGE
GiEK is just one of many steps being taken forward by Greenpeace Poland to
address the climate crisis in the country. Just before Katowice’s COP24 in
November 2018, a group of activists
climbed a cooling tower at Bełchatów
and called the Polish government to
phase out coal by 2030.[1] As activists ended
their peaceful protest at the power plant
, Greenpeace Poland
announced that it will use all means available to accelerate the
decarbonisation of the country. One recent example is the application of the organisation’s
Programme Director for the CEO position at PGE with the objective of
implementing a new company strategy to achieve decarbonisation by the end of
the decade.

Greenpeace Poland’s
statement of claim is not publicly available. Additional information will be
published once the Regional Court in Łódź renders its judgment.


Notes for Editors

[1] PGE GiEK also owns and operates Bełchatów’s power plant, the world’s largest lignite coal-fired power plant that produces an estimated 38 million tonnes of carbon each year, making it the biggest single source of carbon emissions in Europe.


Guzek, Greenpeace Poland head of communications, +48 500 236 211, [email protected] 

Szypulski, Greenpeace Poland director, +48 797 713 873, [email protected] 

International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours),
[email protected]

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