Warsaw joins global climate change scheme

Leszek Szymański/PAP

Warsaw will has joined other cities taking part in a pilot programme aiming to stop climate change.

The programme, promoted by C40 Cities, a group of large cities from around the world, and the Open Society Foundations connected with US billionaire George Soros, will analyse how European cities can counter climate change.

The aim of the Global Green New Deal, which is the name of the programme, is "to demonstrate the role of cities in responding to the climate, energy and cost of living crises," C40 Cities wrote on Twitter.

Under the project, the cities will take action to reduce their dependency on natural gas in favour of renewable energy and "build new partnerships with civil society, unions, residents and youth."

Apart from Warsaw, Spain's Barcelona and Milan in Italy will take part in the pilot project.

"The pilot also draws on C40's collaboration with Mayor of Warsaw Rafal Trzaskowski to support low-income communities in the transition from coal to greener, more affordable energy," C40 Cities also wrote.

In a recent report, C40 Cities recommended a reduction in the consumption of meat and dairy and advocated limiting the purchases of clothing, cars or flights. It also said that emissions resulting from consumption in almost 100 big global cities are responsible for 10 percent of global greenhouse emissions, and will nearly double by 2050 if no action is taken.

C40 Cities was set up in 2005 by 18 cities around the globe in order to counter the climate crisis. The organisation's current chairman is Sadiq Khan, mayor of London.

In 2021, more than 1,000 local governments from around the world joined C40.

But the initiative was sharply criticised by the Polish right-wing ruling coalition on Friday.

Krzysztof Sobolewski, secretary general of Law and Justice, the backbone coalition party, nicknamed the programme "North Korea plus".

"One can say that it is a sort of a 'North Korea plus' programme in which leftist ideologies are heading towards their ideal, meaning North Korea, where the car is a luxury good, or there isn't one at all, clothes are usually second-hand and in limited supply and food is consumed rarely," Sobolewski said.

Also the junior ruling coalition partner, Solidary Poland, lashed out against the programme and the Warsaw mayor.

The party's Sebastian Kaleta, a deputy justice minister, said on Friday that Trzaskowski and the centrist Civic Platform party which he is a leader of will implement "an insane plan... so that we can't eat meat, dairy and face various consumption limitations."

Kaleta also accused the European Union of tacit support for such initiatives and planning to ultimately raise the prices of meat so it becomes unaffordable for citizens.

Welcome to The First News weekly newsletter

Every Friday catch up on our editor’s top pick of news about Poland, including politics, business, life and culture. To receive your free email subscription, sign up today.