Framing the Energy Transition: The Case of Poland’s Turów Lignite Mine


Martina Berrocal , Nadine Thielemann

Year: 2024

Thielemann, N., & Berrocal, M. (2023). Framing the Energy Transition: The Case of Poland’s Turów Lignite Mine. International Journal of Strategic Communication. Advance online publication.

Keywords: Energy and climate plans; Strategic frames; public affairs; Central and Eastern Europe; cultural legitimacy; intercultural business communication

Climate policies pose serious challenges for the operations of energy companies, especially those strongly dependent on fossil fuels. This study explores the case of one such company, Poland’s PGE Group. In 2021, PGE was instructed by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to close its Turów lignite mine for contravening EU decarbonization policy. The company refused to comply and launched a public affairs campaign in support of its efforts to prevent the mine’s closure. Methodologically, the study relies on a linguistically-informed combination of content and frame analysis and shows that strategic frames are more likely to leverage their persuasive potential when they align with the existing cultural frames, resulting in cultural and discursive resonance. In the public campaign, PGE (re-)framed the EU’s Green Deal in highly negative terms and the CJEU’s instruction so as to delegitimize it and the Court itself. In doing so, PGE employed frames used globally by the energy industry, adapting them to tie in with anti-EU sentiment among Polish opinion and decision-makers. This study thus contributes to the body of literature on strategic framing of energy transition and provides relevant insights into the localization of global energy frames.

Post created by: Nadine Thielemann

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