Environmental groups have branded the Polish government a "fossil" over its plans to host a pro-coal summit at the same time as staging the COP19 (Conference of the Parties) climate change conference.
Though no major decisions are expected at the COP19 conference, which began in Warsaw on Monday, progress achieved at the summit could be an indicator of the world's chances of reaching a deal in 2015 in Paris.
That's the new watershed year in the UN-led process for a new global warming pact after a 2009 summit in Copenhagen ended in discord.
Climate activists hence criticised an announcement by the World Coal Association and Poland's Economy Ministry that a summit is to be held on November 18 and 19, billed as "the coal industry's most important event of the year."
Organisers say the International Coal and Climate Summit will bring together coal industry executives, policy-makers and others to "discuss the role of coal in the global economy, in the context of the climate change agenda."
Coal, oil and gas companies normally keep a low profile during the annual UN climate talks, which are aimed at reigning in the carbon emissions that scientists say are a major driver of global warming.
But Polish officials say that coal, which accounts for more than 80 percent of Poland's electricity generation, won't go away anytime soon and needs to be a key part of the climate debate.
The Climate Action Network (CAN), an umbrella group of environmental organisations, condemned the Poles for inviting companies they claim are major polluters - to sponsor COP and writing "mad postings" on the official COP19 website linked to melting Arctic ice.
CAN, which includes Greenpeace, also highlighted a new survey they carried out which shows that 89 percent of Polish people want more energy to come from renewable sources.
"If you had the choice to invest either in more efficient coal-fired power plants or renewable energy, knowing that by mid-century you have to bring down the CO2 emissions to zero, there's only one answer," said Greenpeace's Martin Kaiser.
"You should invest into renewable energies, which will bring also employment into your country, in the countryside, and not only centralised to a few companies," he added.
In Poland, coal is big business, and on the outskirts of Warsaw, the Siekierki power plant burns coal to provide electricity for homes and businesses across the Polish capital.
And on the eve of the COP19 conference, an alternative meeting brought together climate-change deniers, business lobby groups and right-wing nationalists to denounce COP.
Polish and US independent climate activists alleged there is not sufficient evidence that carbon gases contribute to the rise in global temperatures or that human activity contributes to climate change.
Polish trade unions, meanwhile are worried that Asian countries - like Mongolia - with cheaper coal, will be able to undercut Poland's manufacturing base if it is forced to switch to more environmentally friendly power sources.
In parts of central and south-east Asia, vast open-cast pits produce millions of tonnes of coal without the need to conform to EU environmental extraction laws.
Marek Adamczyk, from Poland's Solidarity movement, argues that the country needs coal.
The country needs "a substantial input of primary energy" to fuel its domestic industries like "making furniture, steel, electro machinery" he said.
"If that energy is more expensive as a result of climate policy of the European Union" he said, then purchasers will get the same products from cheaper, non-EU countries which still power their manufacturing base with coal.
"Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan or South East Asia will win. And we will lose," Adamczyk asserted.
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