The Minister for Energy Krzysztof Tchórzewski believes that renewable sources of energy should be treated as a form of health expenditure. He fears, though, that Poland is a country too poor to invest in environmentally- and health-friendly energy.
According to the Polish Press Agency, Tchórzewski perceives revitalization of post-mining areas, necessary if a country decides to phase out coal as the main source of energy, as a task of the head of the Ministry of Energy. It should be reminded that Katowice, which once were the heart of mining Silesia, are now seen as a flagship for city evolution from a mining town into a business and scientific center where new technologies are developed.
During the 10th European Economic Congress in Katowice the Minister recalled the proposal of the Polish Government to ensure that a special fund is created within the Community aid schemes for all the EU members whose economy is based on coal mining. In this way at least 50 % of funds for revitalization of post-mining areas would be provided by the Community.
„We would like to have energy mainly from renewable sources but we are much poorer that the old Community” – concludes Tchórzewski.
Is Poland really such a poor country that it is unable to afford technologies good for the health of its citizens and their environment? According to the report published by Health and Environment Alliance in 2017 annual health costs generated by Polish energy sector, which is the most polluting in Europe, were estimated at staggering 16 billion Euro. At the same time production, extraction and combustion of coal and lignite are subsidized from public funds which could be allocated for a different purpose.
“If these funds were used for health care, Poland could spend the state subsidies to build 34 hospitals a year and employ tens of thousands of doctors. These are the objectives which could be supported from funds that have been pumped in the coal industry. Such money could be spent on renewable sources of energy which are harmless and would have a chance to develop” – says Weronika Michalak, HEAL Polska.
According to health experts, over its 40-year lifespan the planned Ostrołęka C power plant will have serious negative health impact on the society – it has been estimated that it may cause up to 2 thousand premature deaths and almost 100 thousand asthma attacks in children.
“If we take into account the subsidies and health costs we needlessly pay in the form of health impacts of coal and lignite based energy sector, it may well turn out that Poland could have funds not only for developing renewable energy and energetic efficiency but also for revitalization of post-mining areas and providing jobs in other, more environmentally-friendly sectors. The problem is not the lack of money but that it is spent on harmful and economically unfeasible projects such as the Ostrołęka C power plant – concludes Diana Maciąga, coalition Stop Ostrołęka C Power Plant.
Diana Maciąga: firstname.lastname@example.org, 502 646 890