It is my honor and sincere pleasure to open this workshop. I would like to welcome our distinguished speakers and participants. Emissions, and more general air pollution is currently a hot topic across all the whole world – and also in Poland. When we talk about emissions, we refer not only to industrial or carbon-like emissions. But also, transport based pollution or so called “low emission” pollutions from households. This kind of pollution is dispersed widely and is difficult to influence through policy as it often requires “behavioral” change.
I would like to convey my congratulations on the preparation of the new draft National Program of Low Emission Economy. Its comprehensive coverage, and its detail, make it great food for thoughts and discussions - which I believe, this conference will only start.
I would also like to thank Mr. Zbigniew Kamienski and his staff for the excellent and fruitful cooperation with the World Bank. We at the World Bank learn much by working with sophisticated clients like Poland on cutting-edge technical issues.
Today Poland is at a special juncture, with a new government. The new authorities target dynamic and inclusive economic growth. To plan and implement comprehensive and effective policy change, thorough impact assessments are often required. The success of reforms will often depend on detailed parameters (“the devil is in the detail”) which can be tested using technical tools.
The work that we are discussing today, partially financed by a WB grant, is a small step in this direction. We believe that this grant can contribute to further strengthening of the public administration in Poland. Poland still lacks institutional capacity for systematic economic, fiscal, and distributional impact assessments of economic and sectoral policies. Building such capacity would help better inform policy choices in a world with complex and complicated political, economic, and social inter-dependencies.
We are proud that the Bank has built a reputation in recent years as a competent and independent broker in climate change policy analysis in Poland. Our first engagement started in 2009 with analysis of low carbon issues, which led to the 2011 report “Transition to a Low-Emissions Economy in Poland”.
The report was the first Bank study on climate change mitigation with a macroeconomic focus, where investment costs and engineering possibilities were only part of the analysis and policy recommendations. Since its launch, insights from the report have been widely shared with external audiences, and there has been growing interest from a number of European countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Macedonia, and Estonia).
The work also served as the underpinning of a World Bank policy loan for Poland in 2011. It was followed by a technical assistance activity (economic modeling for climate and energy policy), bringing together a strong institutional coalition consisting of a number of ministries and the National Centre for Emissions Management (KOBIZE – commonly used Polish acronym); representatives of which are today present at this workshop.
The work that we are discussing today is at the leading edge for any government. While this project is a great opportunity for Poland to move to the forefront of low emissions policy capacity, it is also an opportunity for Poland to share important lessons with other countries, including among new EU member states who are grappling with many of the same dilemmas on climate and energy policy.