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In this Nov. 21, 2018 photo mines put away their equipment after an underground shift at the Wujek coal mine in Katowice, in Poland’s southern mining region of Silesia. The mining industry has long been a source of pride and employment for generations of Silesians. For decades, its rich seams of hard, black coal were used to heat homes and provide electricity across Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

The majority of Poles want the Polish government to keep the country’s coal mines running during the current economic climate, new polling has revealed.

In a survey conducted by Social Changes for the news portal, Poles were asked: “In your opinion, what should Poland do with its coal mines in light of rising energy prices?”

Almost six out of 10 respondents (59 percent) called on the government to “defend coal mines from being shut down,” while 19 percent backed the closures, and 22 percent said “it is hard to say.”

Poland relies on coal for 80 percent of its energy but has agreed to close its mines by 2049, in line with EU targets to cut emissions. The current Law and Justice (PiS) government is taking action with the goal of decreasing the extraction of coal. Confederation and United Poland are the only parties in the country’s parliament to oppose this, with the Left political alliance the most eager to end Polish coal mining.

Green – “defend coal mines from being closed down”; Red – “Poland should agree to close down its coal mines”; Grey – “it is hard to say”. Source: Social Changes for highlighted the strong political divide that exists among respondents on the issue of coal mining based on the support of political parties. For example, 83 percent of PiS voters back the continuation of coal mining, compared to just 32 percent of Civic Coalition voters.

“What is interesting is that 46 percent of Szymon Hołownia’s Poland 2050 voters defended the coal mines,” according to the study.

“The current energy crisis is an important lesson for the future: Different kinds of political and ideological pressure cannot lead to liquidating of a sector that is, and long will be, the basis of Poland’s energy security,” the study concluded.