Polish president says will defend coal mining industry

Katowice (Poland) (AFP) –


President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday said he would not allow Poland's coal mining industry to be eliminated, as the EU member hosts the UN climate summit.

"Don't worry. As long as I am the president of Poland, I won't allow for anyone to murder Polish mining," Duda told miners in the southern town of Brzeszcze.

Poland is one of many nations heavily reliant on coal, which along with other fossil fuels is being fingered as a leading climate enemy at the COP24 summit.

The talks aim to flesh out the promises made in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Speaking in Brzeszcze, Duda pushed Poland's own agenda regarding the summit which ends on December 14.

"We're there, we're its organisers, but we're also there to speak the truth without taking into account political correctness, which is often driven by foreign interests and not Polish ones," he told the miners celebrating their annual festival.

Poland's economy "will continue to rely on coal. Of course, we'll achieve an energy mix, we'll implement our strategy, but coal remains and will remain in Poland," Duda added.

On Monday, Duda had made his country's coal argument at the talks themselves.

"The use of a country's own natural resources, i.e. of hard coal in the case of Poland, and dependence on such resources for the sake of one's own energy security does not clash with climate protection and progress achieved in this vein," he said.