Poland Poland

Poland ranks 52nd in this year’s CCPI, down four spots and among the very low performers.

In the GHG Emissions and Climate Policy categories, Poland receives very low ratings, along with low ratings in the Renewable Energy and Energy Use categories. Experts criticise that the Polish government has no real long-term strategy until 2050 contained in national law. Instead, it plans a 30% GHG reduction by 2030 (vs. 1990 levels), which is not in line with the Paris Agreement.

A coal phase-out is planned for 2049 and only includes the state-owned mining firm, which the CCPI experts criticise as late and incomplete. The policies on renewables also receive low grades. Experts criticise the Energy Plan 2040, which was validated by a government resolution in February 2021. This legislation has the target of raising the renewables share to 23% in 2030. A regulation also blocks further expansion of onshore wind installations.

Despite the above, there is some positive news. Poland’s first Offshore Wind Act was adopted in January 2021, setting offshore wind as a key national technology, and in September 2021, the Polish Offshore Wind Sector Deal was signed. Moreover, financial support for small photovoltaics is showing its first effects. In July 2021, more than 600,000 ‘prosumers’ (producers and consumers) were registered and are taking part in the governmental programme, but there is a plan to limit the support, as the local power grid is insufficient for future development of the prosumer movement. Furthermore, in January 2021, the draft of the Polish Hydrogen Strategy was published and should soon be adopted. The draft includes dirty hydrogen, which depends on fossil fuels and therefore cannot be considered a low-emission solution.

A further object of criticism is the building sector, because of missing energy efficiency policies. Experts, however, see one of the greatest items of potential for future energy savings here. In the transport sector, the largest emitting sector outside the EU-ETS, many programs are implemented, though their efficiency needs improving. Electric buses, however, are on the rise and citizens receive financial support of up to €5,000 for purchasing electric automobiles. Experts also demand reduced support of plug-in hybrid cars.

In international policy, experts recognise increased interest in climate diplomacy. Poland committed itself to the EU 2030 and 2050 targets and did not block them, even if these are not yet included in the national target.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI:  Andrzej Ancygier (Climate Analytics); Andrzej Kassenberg (Institute for Sustainable Development);  Wojciech Szymalski (Institute for Sustainable Development)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.