Poland Turns Climate-Smart
April 24, 2014
Poland has overcome the complex transition period of the 1990s, but the country now faces a new challenge: How to restructure in a climate-friendly way.
That’s the question newly-created workshops in the country are set on answering. They are part of a climate modeling unit created by Poland’s Ministry of Finance, in cooperation with the Ministries of Economy and Environment, with technical assistance from the World Bank.
The workshops allow administrators from the country’s ministries of Finance, Economy, and Environment to gather and share ideas with public administration and leading academic experts.
Now we are creating these workshops by ourselves, with help from the World Bank. We are gaining the know-how, so this is essential for us as a process of learning and sharing experience.
“The project came from a very basic need of the government, the Polish government, to have answers to very complex questions concerning the impacts of climate policies on budget situations or economy,” adds Sylwia Waśniewska, of Poland’s National Center for Emissions Management, which is overseen by the country’s Ministry of Environment.
Though Poland has one of the lowest per capita energy consumptions of EU countries, its growing economy is one of the least-emissions efficient, with more than 90 percent of its electricity generated from locally-abundant coal.
As a member of the European Union, Poland must comply with EU energy and climate policies by 2020, which include reducing carbon emissions.
Therefore, a key concern for Polish policy makers is how to comply with EU climate rules without hampering the country’s long-term economic growth.
In my opinion, the biggest benefit for the Ministry of Economy is to initiate cooperation with several other ministries in the area of modeling, which is a topic that has not been pursued in the Ministry before.
So far, the new climate modeling interaction between public administration and leading academic experts has produced a national plan to help Poland develop a long-term lower emissions economy.
The plan focuses on clean energy sources, energy efficiency, materials management, low emissions technologies, waste management, and new consumption patterns.
“Now that we have our own model, we will be able to be more active in climate polices,” Boniewicz says.
Officials involved in economic, environmental, and financial policies say that, through the new climate modeling unit, it is now possible to measure the impact of specific economic policies on climate - and to take this into account as part of the decision-making process.