Poland Sacks Environment Minister at UN Climate Summit

Published November 21, 2013

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk dismissed Environment Minister Marcin Korolec yesterday, adding insult to injury for environmental activists attending United Nations climate talks in Warsaw.

As is becoming routine in recent years at high profile United Nations climate talks, international delegates are finding little if any common ground for future reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, though the thousands of people traveling to UN conferences generate substantial carbon dioxide emissions in the process. Media covering the conference have described the atmosphere as futile and gloomy. To make matters worse, China led a bloc of 132 nations walking out of climate talks yesterday, demanding climate reparations from Western democracies for alleged climate change damage to their countries. China, ironically emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as any other nation on earth, and emits more than the entire Western Hemisphere combined.

Earlier in the conference, Japanese officials announced the nation is going back on a prior pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Japan had previously pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020. Japanese officials now say they will commit to a modest 3-percent rise in emissions from 1990 levels by 2020.

Against this backdrop of failed environmentalist expectations, Tusk yesterday sacked Korolec, explaining Korolec was not supportive enough of natural gas production through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

“It is about radical acceleration of shale gas operations,” Tusk explained at a Warsaw press conference.

Although natural gas reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 50 percent relative to coal, environmental activists tend to oppose natural gas production, arguing wind and solar power should comprise nearly all electricity production.

Korolec has presided over the UN Warsaw climate conference in his role as President of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Sacking Korolec in mid-UN conference – in his home country, no less – added further gloom and dysfunction to the climate talks.

Tusk assured UN climate delegates Korolec would be allowed to preside over the Warsaw climate talks until the conference concludes, but he will be doing so as a lame duck.

It appears the lame duck label applies not only to Korolec, but the UN climate conference as a whole.