Therefore, the Belchatow closure announcement is a milestone for better health protection for the people in Poland and beyond, and shows that there is a growing recognition that coal cannot have a place in a healthy energy future for Poland, or elsewhere. At the same time, there’s no reason for leaning back, as we have not reached our goal of a coal phase out in the EU by 2030 yet - a date that is scientifically proven to be needed to slow down the climate crisis.
By end April, the Polish government has to submit a national recovery plan to the EU Commission, in order to receive funding under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). HEAL considers that the draft plan lacks ambition and commitment to climate action, which is essential to achieve a healthy, green and just recovery.
The draft plan presented by the government is centered around 5 priorities: 1. Resilience and competitiveness of the economy, 2. Green energy and reduction of energy intensity, 3. Digital transformation, 4. Effectiveness, availability and quality of the health care system, 5. Green, intelligent mobility.
HEAL Poland recently participated in public hearings and has urged decision-makers to at least include and make public an assessment of the health cost and benefits of any recovery measure and financing activity; prioritise those measures with the greatest win for health, the climate and clean air; commit to a coal phase out by 2030; and exclude replacement schemes for households which would merely upgrade coal burning, not ending its use, as part of the Polish Clean Air Program.
From a health perspective, the government needs to step up on the climate ambition and ensure full compliance with the commitments in the EU Green Deal.
The Healthy Recovery Manifesto launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) can be a blueprint for action at national level.