"One can only join global leaders through direct competition. Poland is able to concentrate on eco-innovation and join in the competition for efficient use of resources. It can also watch the low-carbon race from the sidelines - but then it risks getting stuck at the end of the pack of economic lightweights and missing the right moment to shorten the gap to the global leaders" - say the authors of a recent publication "The role of (eco)innovation in low-carbon transformation" prepared under the project Low-Carbon Poland 2050.

The authors also present the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for eco-innovation in Poland. The opportunities include the following:

  • new requirements posed by the increasingly refined and increasingly stringent environmental law;
  • the new EU financial perspective 2014-2020, with an emphasis on innovation, low-carbon economy and sustainable development;
  • current low energy efficiency and input productivity in Poland that will allow rapid effects from eco-innovation (e.g. the need for a paradigm shift to distributed systems);
  • significant potential for the development of eco-innovative products and services in Poland through foreign capital.

According to the authors, the challenges of low-carbon transformation require long-term changes in Polish domestic production and consumption. "It will be necessary to implement large-scale solutions to improve the efficiency of energy and other natural resources, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These do not have to be based on new technologies. Meeting reduction targets can also be exacerbated by organizational changes - forsaking inefficient practices in the use of available resources and the adoption of new ones, allowing a better resource use for the benefit of producers and consumers. The progressing climate change will also demand an ability to increase both resilience and adaptation to the new conditions at the lowest possible adjustment cost" - write the authors of publication.

In subsequent chapters, the publication describes the development opportunities offered by skilful public support for low carbon innovation. According to the authors, they can significantly reduce the costs of departure from the current model of high-carbon growth, and can act as a modernization incentive to avoid the stagnation threatening all countries that maintain an imitative developmental model.

"An attractive alternative is a conscious and resolute focus on a low-carbon transformation and on using all available resources to support the Polish economy in new areas. Polish companies may be prompted to compete with the best in the world in many fragmented markets of eco-innovative technologies. Unlike most complex energy technologies (nuclear, CCS), Poland has a real chance of success in the field of renewable and distributed energy, taking into account the required potential and support currently provided to Polish innovators from national and EU funds" - say the authors of the publication.