Poland Releases Energy Policy, Vows to Reduce 30% Emissions by 2030

Although it has still declined carbon-neutrality by 2050, the Polish government plans to develop wind and nuclear energy markets

Poland has finally released its Poland Energy Policy which will outline the country’s energy goals until 2040. The Minister for Climate, Michal Kurtyka tweeted: “#PEP2040 will be our compass in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.” The Polish government has been struggling to navigate forces presented by stringent climate policies of the EU on one hand and strong opposition from powerful coal lobbies on the other. However, soaring costs driven by carbon emissions and the debilitating impact of the pandemic on the economy have made it critical for the government to allocate significant resources to get Poland back on track to recovery.

Poland’s Energy Policy has articulated several goals, the most significant one being reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% within the next decade. Poland has been under intense pressure to join the other EU Member

A mine worker exits the now-defunct Wieczorek coal mine in Katowice, Poland

A mine worker exits the now-defunct Wieczorek coal mine in Katowice, Poland. Credit: Kacper Pempel for Reuters

States in pledging climate-neutrality by 2050. However, it has refused to commit to the target, reiterating that the country needs more time and money to be able to complete the shift to zero-emissions within that time span than it currently has.

Coal is used to generate almost 80% of Poland’s electricity demand. Poland has stated that while it plans to develop native renewable energy sources (majorly nuclear power and wind energy), it will continue to use its own energy sources, i.e. coal, for as long as possible. This approach has received strong criticism from environmental campaigners who consider the government’s strategy inadequate. Unless Poland and the EU commit to stop using coal before 2030, global temperatures will rise to dangerously, irreversibly high levels. Joanna Flisowska, Head of Climate and Energy at Greenpeace Polska, said: “It seems that Minister Kurtyka – although he is responsible for the Ministry of Climate – has forgotten about the droughts, floods or hurricane winds that affect us more and more often due to climate change. The project is also detached from the realities of European politics.’’

Meanwhile, Poland has been working towards developing its nascent wind energy market. The policy promises that the country will source at least 23% of its energy from renewable sources in the next decade.  By then, analysts project the country’s offshore wind capacity will reach 5.9GW.