The European Union wants to reduce methane emissions. Will the new regulations affect Polish coal?

Luc Williams

On Monday, EU countries finally supported new regulations that are intended to limit methane emissions in the energy sector. In the original version presented by the European Commission, the draft regulation contained provisions unfavorable for the Polish mining industry. He talked about an emission limit of 0.5 tons of methane per kiloton of coal extracted in mines.

5 tons of methane per kiloton of extracted coal

Critics of this solution, mainly a cross-party coalition of Polish MPs in the European Parliament, pointed out that such emission limits could put mines on the verge of bankruptcy. During negotiations in the European Parliament, PiS MEPs Izabela Kloc and Anna Zalewska submitted amendments to the document raising this threshold. Ultimately, it was set at 5 tons of methane per kiloton of extracted coal. A provision was also introduced to apply this threshold to the operator if he runs several mines.

The amendments also replaced penalties for breaking the regulations into fees that would go to the budget of the Member State and then be transferred to mines to invest in technologies to reduce methane emissions. The coalition against the unfavorable provisions of the project for Poland was cross-party. Mitigating amendments were also submitted by MEPs Jerzy Buzek (PO) and Adam Jarubas (PSL).

“The EU Council has finally adopted the methane regulation. Thanks to the negotiations I led, it is much less drastic – emission limits for mines from 2027 are 10 times higher than in the European Commission's proposal,” Kloc wrote on Monday on social media.

“Silesian mines will not be closed overnight”

“We took care of three key issues in one regulation. On the one hand, we defended, in dialogue with the social side, tens of thousands of jobs. Silesian mines will not be closed overnight, and such a threat was real. On the other hand, we are taking specific actions to reducing methane emissions – very harmful to the climate. And thirdly, we provide mines with funds for this purpose, which should translate into greater safety of miners. We acted comprehensively – Buzek told PAP at the beginning of 2024.

Under the new regulations, energy companies will have to detect and repair methane leaks. They will also have to measure methane emissions and produce reports that will be checked by independent accredited verifiers. Member States will be obliged to maintain and regularly update an inventory of all wells. They also aim to measure and monitor emissions from coal mines that were closed or abandoned less than 70 years ago, because methane is also released when production stops. The regulation also imposes methane emission limits on oil and gas imports to Europe from 2030. According to Reuters, this puts pressure on international suppliers to limit leaks of this powerful greenhouse gas.

The US administration, which, together with the EU, called on countries to reduce methane emissions by 30%. by 2030 to reduce climate change, welcomed the EU's methane law. Last year, the United States established its own rules requiring oil companies to reduce methane emissions, the agency recalled. The new law will enter into force on the twentieth day after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. In 2028, the Commission will review its application.

From Brussels Łukasz Osiński


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