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ClientEarth v. Polska Grupa Energetyczna

Jurisdiction: Poland

Side A: ClientEarth (Ngo)

Side B: Polska Grupa Energetyczna (Corporation)

Core objectives: Environmental group sued to compel power plant operator to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under Polish law.

Environmental law organization ClientEarth is seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Europe's largest power plant, Belchatow. According to ClientEarth, Belchatow burns 45 million tons of a form of coal called lignite every year, and has emitted approximately 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime, making it Europe's greatest source of greenhouse gas pollution. ClientEarth alleges that the plant's operator, Polska Grupa Energetyczna, has not presented any official plan to reduce its climate impacts. The lawsuit seeks to block the plant operators from burning lignite - or require measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions - by 2035. According to ClientEarth, the lawsuit arises out of Article 323 of Poland's 2001 Environmental Protection Law, which permits ecological organizations to demand that preventive measures be taken when an activity harms the environment as a common good.

On September 22, 2020, the judge in the case ruled that PGE must negotiate with ClientEarth to attempt to reach a settlement within three months to swiftly reduce Belchatow’s climate impacts. ClientEarth demands that PGE close 11 of 12 coal units at Belchatow by 2030, and the last by 2035, while PGE’s existing schedule would close them by 2040 after existing reserves are depleted. According to ClientEarth, this marks the first time a Polish Court has required a coal plant to engage in such negotiations to reduce climate emissions.

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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