5 Poles sue government seeking faster steps on gas emissions

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A Polish environmental group says five members of the public are separately taking the government to court this month, to demand faster steps to reduce Poland’s greenhouse gas emissions and meet European climate goals.

In a statement released Thursday through the ClientEarth nongovernmental foundation, the five Poles claim the inaction of successive Polish governments on climate change is harming their health and may have negative effects on their children.

The statement said the plaintiffs want Poland to vow climate neutrality by 2043 and to reduce its CO2 emissions by 60% by the year 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Poland relies on own and imported coal for some 65% of its energy and lags behind Europe’s climate goals. A recent energy plan says some of the coal mines — which are major polluters — will work until 2049.

The plaintiffs say the current state of the environment in Poland violates their personal rights and they urge faster action toward climate neutrality, which means net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“I am taking matters to court because I can see no other way of drawing the government’s attention to the climate disaster that is threatening all of us,” plaintiff Piotr Nowakowski was quoted as saying in the ClientEarth statement.

“I want a safe future for my children and grandchildren, but the government is not approaching the matter seriously enough.”

Three of the lawsuits have already been filed with regional courts in Poznan, Lomza and Piotrkow Trybunalski, and two others are about to be filed, ClientEarth said.

In 2019, four people, including popular actors, won lawsuits before a Warsaw court against the government, which they sued over the poor quality of air, saying that violated their personal rights. The government was ordered to pay fines to charity and to social causes.

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