It was never going to be easy to wean Europe’s biggest polluters – Poland and Germany –from coal and lignite.

Poland currently relies on the fossil source for an overwhelming 80% of its electricity consumption, while Europe’s largest economy also still depends on coal and lignite for 36% of its own power needs.

But the signals Warsaw and Berlin are sending out just a week before the start of the COP24 UN climate conference in Katowice show an embarrassing lack of ambition, and disregard for recent alarming warnings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that calls for faster action to contain global warming.