When loyalty blocks climate action – Polish parliament pledges allegiance

The Polish government has a sad reputation for adopting unilateral, even obscure approaches when it comes to our country’s energy policy. What now came as a very disappointing surprise is that the Polish parliament joined the opportunistic chorus of denial – one that considers alternatives to the continued reliance on fossil fuels as a threat to Poland’s security.

posted on the Bankwatch blog by Kuba Gogolewski, Polish energy campaigner


Last Friday, in an unanimous vote, the Polish parliament adopted a resolution which criticises the European Commission’s long term objectives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a low-carbon economy in Europe.

The resolution states that:

These proposals, contained in documents such as the Energy Roadmap 2050, do not consider the specific economic conditions of individual member states [...] (Propozycje te, zawarte w takich dokumentach jak Energy Roadmap 2050, nie uwzględniają specyficznych uwarunkowań gospodarczych poszczególnych krajów członkowskich [...])

… instead it calls for

[...] a comprehensive analysis of the costs and benefits associated with the implementation of climate policy. ([...] wzywa Radę Ministrów do przygotowania wszechstronnej analizy kosztów i korzyści związanych z realizacją polityki klimatycznej.)

This vote (and the fact that even the more progressive members of parliament voted in favour) is just another sign of how much Poland is detached from the rest of Europe – and from reality.

While countries such as Finland work on plans to phase-out coal generation by 2025 and Germany foresees a full decarbonisation of its electricity in 2050, Poland is still fighting wars with its perceived enemies, embodied now also by the European Commission. (And never mind that 26 countries have supported the Commission proposal.)

At the same time, Poland’s decision makers have not come up with a document that outlines their vision of an effective climate policy (a need that Friday’s Parliament resolution “recognises”). Instead they repeat a mantra that mingles the fear of economic stagnation with an imagined or at least grossly exaggerated threat to Poland’s energy security by external powers.

Many open questions, no answers

I think it is legitimate to ask my country’s representatives: What would a Polish “Roadmap 2050” look like? What is the place of renewables in Poland after 2020? How is Poland willing to address its growing dependence on oil coming predominantly from Russia? And what about the increased coal imports?

Poland’s Energy Policy 2030 (pdf) envisages over 65% of primary energy demand in 2030 coming from coal, lignite and oil. It does not include much development in renewable energy after 2020 – the renewable ratio of the final gross energy demand would increase by only one percent between 2020 and 2030.

What about energy efficiency, then? Will Poland exploit its still massive potential and thus reduce our energy and heating bills and our CO2 emissions?

Instead of answering these questions or consulting them with its citizens, Polish authorities are grumbling at the European Commission and are buying time to continue business as usual. (We have also heard Prime Minister Tusk on Friday, announcing more roads, more coal power plants and shale gas [PL].)

Poland’s long-term thinking seems to cover only considerations over how to get us through the next two difficult years when EU money will only come as a trickle.

More than one possible future

The sad thing is that understanding climate policy simply as a “burden” (as the Parliament’s resolution does) neglects the benefits that lie in green investments.

A study by the Central European University estimates that large-scale deep retrofitting of buildings would bring energy savings worth EUR 203 billion by 2080 and create 224 000 additional jobs.

In numerous places around Europe, Poland included, money from the EU Budget has been used fruitfully to implement projects that benefit both the environment and the economy. The next EU Budget (2014-2020) worth one trillion euros, a third of which will go to Cohesion Policy funds, could bring many more such investments, especially if – as planned by the Commission – at least 20 percent of this money is earmarked for low carbon spending.

Clearly, for Poland, low carbon comes with EU financial support and with economic benefits added to the environmental ones. It has been stated over and over again by the EU and by independent researches.

Alas, Polish decision makers are not willing to listen to civil society’s suggestions or proof. The state prefers to support research that is decidedly pro-fossil fuels, because the government has always known that there is only one possible future and that any discussion with the remaining 26 EU countries – or its own citizens – is useless. And now the Polish Parliament has backed this approach unanimously.

But questions over how to build a more sustainable energy sector must not just be ignored any longer.

The next time you see a Polish official criticising the European Commission’s Roadmap 2050 please do raise these issues with them. Ask them how their Roadmap looks like. Call the bluff.

9 Responses to When loyalty blocks climate action – Polish parliament pledges allegiance »»

  1. Comment by Mats Jangdal | 2012/10/26 at 11:53:35

    You ask for people to call the bluff.
    I’m calling your bluff! There has not been any significant raise in temperature for the last 16 years.
    All the IPCC prognosis are mere speculations. Non-validated models in computers. The real world observations says otherwise.

    You wish to peddle stocks in “green” companies. How come these companies are doing the worst of all in the current economic crisis? Because the green agenda created the crisis and people recognize this and refuse to buy the green lie. You just want to unload your bad investment.
    There, I called it!

  2. ces
    Comment by ces | 2012/11/02 at 09:39:22

    Where are the comments?

  3. Comment by Erik Berglund | 2012/11/02 at 10:45:16

    Well, it appears that we here see one bluff posted against another bluff. So the real question is: How do we determine which one is true ?

    I would appreciate a review of relevant facts presented in a way that “a commoner” can understand.

    Is that too much to ask for ?

  4. Comment by bankwatch | 2012/11/12 at 11:38:37

    Dear Mats,
    for the record, Bankwatch is not affiliated with “green” companies, nor did we make any investments in such.

    On climate science, it seems we don’t see eye to eye. There is overwhelming agreement among scientists that man-made climate change not only exists but is happening right now. This years melting of the arctic ice, droughts in the US, hurricane Sandy and other freak weather scenarios are indications.

    If you would like to challenge climate science, then you’re invited to provide evidence for your claims.

  5. Comment by bankwatch | 2012/11/12 at 11:59:12

    Dear Erik,

    the bluff we are referring to is that there would be no other way for Poland than relying on coal. Polish environmentalists would be happy to engage in a discussion on this in Poland – publicly and on equal terms.

    Can you specify your request for relevant facts? Which other bluff do you refer to?

  6. Comment by Mats Jangdal | 2012/11/12 at 14:00:10

    @#IV
    So, you have not your self invested in green companies, but promote such investments for others. That’s reassuring.

    There is an overwhelming propaganda for the AGW theory or even the CAGW theory. But propaganda is not really good scientific facts, is it?

    In fact, over the last decade the AGW theory has been proven flawed on a number of occasions and on just about any topic it mentions. There is no point in me trying to teach you here within these few lines. You’ll have to study the facts for your self and make an effort to understand.
    You can find out more here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com
    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com
    http://climate4you.com
    Ole Humlum has recently shown the AGW theory wrong here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818112001658?v=s5
    Armstrong et al just recently published this, showing 85% of the basic 90 prognosis methods used in climate forecast are being used in a non scientific way.

    There has not been any measurable warming for the last 16 years, which on it’s own throws all of the AGW theories and models in the trash.

    When will you stop parroting, AGW, AGW, CAGW, Disaster, Worse than ever imagined, AGW! ?

  7. Comment by Mats Jangdal | 2012/11/12 at 14:05:22
  8. Comment by bankwatch | 2012/11/12 at 16:35:12

    Mats,

    while we may not invest in green companies ourselves, we do have some evidence that investments in renewables and energy efficiency does indeed have a positive influence on societies and economies. See for instance:
    http://bankwatch.org/news-media/blog/there-you-have-it-green-investments-do-create-jobs
    http://www.wellspent.eu

    On your other points: We will allow our readers to decide for themselves what is propaganda and what are scientific facts. Some of your references at least are known to be funded by fossil fuel industries or for publishing false claims:

    wattsupwiththat – http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Anthony_Watts

    nofrakkingconsensus – http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Donna_Laframboise

    There is probably no need to post further “proof” for your opinion in this comment section. We have noted your arguments but reserve the right to disagree.

  9. Comment by Mats Jangdal | 2012/11/12 at 16:58:31

    If you have proof of fossil fuel funding, please reveal it!
    When it comes to the green movements, at least here in Sweden, it’s no big secret they get funding from oil companies like Shell and Statoil. Just read their annual fiscal reports.

    Energy companies will be energy companies irregardless of what sort of energy is in demand or required. They will always be ready to sell what pays the best. If you wish to pay handsomely for a green lie, you will receive your handsome green lie upon payment in full.

    Of course green subsidized jobs are jobs. But how many honest market shaped jobs do they destroy?

    The problem as I see it, is when you demand the right to use the monopoly on violence of the state to force me to pay for your illusion or delusion.


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