Case Study: Banking on Climate Change 2020

By Monica Schrock

PGE (Polska Grupa Energetyczna) is the largest producer of electricity and heat in Poland, 91% of which it derives from burning coal. PGE’s plans to develop Europe’s deepest lignite mine at Złoczew appear now to be in jeopardy due to increasing costs, but the company is controversially seeking to expand its huge open-pit lignite mine at Turów in southwest Poland.

The proposal, which would wreak further environmental and social devastation in surrounding areas, is being resisted by communities in Poland and in the neighboring Czech Republic and Germany. Czech authorities fear that expanding the mine could jeopardize drinking water for 30,000 people. Santander, MUFG, and Intesa Sanpaolo are the most recent banks to back PGE. The company’s lack of a coal phase-out policy has led ten European banks to blacklist it; all banks should follow suit rather than provide further backing for PGE’s destructive coal expansion strategy.