Bulgaria leader opposed to increased carbon-cutting targets


Bulgaria, which generates more than 40 percent of its energy from coal, will oppose any further increase in targets to curb carbon emissions, President Rumen Radev said Thursday.
Radev, who will head the Bulgarian delegation at the COP24 UN climate talks next week in the Polish city of Katowice, said that measures to limit climate change were "necessary and urgent."
"But these measures have to be kept within the framework of what has already been agreed, and there should be no increase in the commitments," he said.
Around 1,000 coal miners and power plant workers demonstrated in Sofia on Thursday to protest against calls for increased carbon-cutting measures.
Podkrepa trade union chief Dimitar Manolov said tens of thousands jobs were at stake if Bulgaria is forced to shut down its Maritsa East power plant, one of the most polluting plants in Bulgaria and the 11th dirtiest in Europe.
"We want to preserve the coal energy industry as it is now," Manolov told AFP.
Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova visited the plant on Wednesday to try and reassure workers.
The two-week COP24 meeting will seek to breathe new life into the 195-nation Paris Agreement, signed in December 2015, with a number of countries -- notably the United States -- recently backsliding on their original commitments.
The agreement, due to come into effect in 2020, aims to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. And countries are being urged to increase their carbon-cutting targets.
In 2017, Bulgaria was reprimanded, but not fined, by the European Court of Justice for repeatedly breaching the EU's air pollution limits.
© 2018 AFP