The Katowice summit may set the directions of the EU’s climate policy for the next several decades – writes the Minister of Energy.
We are ahead of the COP24 World Climate Summit – a platform for exchange of experience in the process of political, economic and social transformation shaping the political map of the world and showing the key directions of development. It will also be a meeting which may determine the directions of the EU’s climate policy for the next several decades.
Energy transformation is necessary – both in Poland and around the world. However, this should not be a revolution, but an evolution. A well-thought-out and planned reconstruction is much more beneficial and profitable. In this case, it is a global reconstruction of the energy sector. A process that is taking place and will continue to take place in many countries in a way that is appropriate taking into consideration the conditions and needs of a given country.
The Energy Policy for 2040 has just been presented in Poland. It defines a way of energy transformation of the domestic sector that will most reliably ensure energy security and energy efficiency while reducing its environmental impact as well as facilitating optimal use of energy resources.
The implementation of climate policy objectives must be based on economic calculation with the use of innovative technologies, including clean coal technologies that allow this raw material to be used in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible.
Energy policy also assumes putting a strong emphasis on renewable energy sources (RES) and nuclear energy. An alliance of the RES and hard coal sectors is therefore necessary – the two sectors simply cannot exist without each other. Renewable energy sources need conventional sources – i.e. coal or gas – as a back-up. In turn, in order to meet certain parameters, conventional energy should look for solutions related to the development of renewable sources.
Strict climate requirements may directly affect competitiveness of the economy and cause relocation of jobs to other parts of the world. We must not allow phenomena that are unfavourable to the labour market, the financial condition of the country or the development of our market.
Balance of inputs and outcomes
The discussion at EU level focuses on reducing emissions, which are considered to be an extremely important issue for improving air quality. Public discourse overlooks the issue of increasing the use and absorption of CO2, i.e. balancing emissions with use.
An in-depth analysis of the environmental decisions taken over the last 25 years is necessary. It should give us an answer to a key question: are the expenditures on the implementation of climate policy commensurate with the effects achieved. After all, strict climate requirements translate directly into the labour market, the wealth of citizens or the development of industry in the EU Member States.
Poland is making great efforts to meet its obligations regarding renewable energy sources. We are very advanced in introducing energy efficiency and reducing energy intensity. In recent years, the Polish power industry has allocated huge financial resources to adapt to the current climate protection requirements. We can say that we are one of the world leaders in terms of such changes.
However, the desired success in the fight against climate change cannot be achieved with the efforts of Poland itself and the Union itself. The EU’s share in global CO2 emissions is only about 10%. Not much in view of the ever-increasing level of global emissions. Combating climate change therefore requires solidarity efforts of all countries of the world. And also realistic approach – all countries have in mind the need to preserve the competitiveness of their national economies and energy sovereignty. What is more, many of them, such as China, Indonesia, Pakistan and India, must rapidly eliminate their economic backwardness and ensure that all citizens have access to cheap electricity. Therefore, they must use coal-fired power for a certain period of time.
Watch out for costs
It is therefore necessary to carry out a global analysis of the climate and environmental actions taken over the last 25 years in terms of efficiency. According to the assessments of the Ministry of Energy, the review of these measures is to take place at the next UN Climate Conference, i.e. COP25. It is already known, however, that the most serious problem in the fight against climate change is the enormous costs.
In order to combat global warming effectively, a great deal of investment and financial resources is needed. Many countries simply do not have such resources at their disposal. Other fear a loss of profit and a decline in people’s standard of living if they engage in difficult and costly emission reduction programmes. For others still, these programmes may mean a halt to the necessary dynamic growth in line with population growth.
By announcing the draft Energy Policy of Poland and submitting it for consultation, the Ministry of Energy begins an important debate on a new social agreement on energy. The combination of conventional, renewable and nuclear energy gives us the opportunity to meet the ambitions of the EU, while ensuring Poland’s dynamic development.
Before the COP24 conference in Katowice there is a great challenge – to find conceptual and practical solutions to the above mentioned difficult problems, choose ways to reconcile different interests and obtain full approval for a realistic global climate protection policy.
I sincerely hope that we will succeed.
– The subtitles come from the editorial office
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