In this part, we sum up the significance of the low-emission transformation for Poland’s modernisation in the coming forty years. Here, we try to deal with the misgivings presented by those who are sceptical about the shift from the coal orientation in our energy sector: its high costs for investors, its adverse impact on energy prices and costs of living, a threat for economic growth and the problem of energy security. In the light of the doubts voiced by opponents of climate policy, it is important to present all the factors which will affect our country if the challenge of low-emission transformation is taken on.
In Chapter One, we divide the catalogue of the measures proposed into those that are cost-effective from the point of view of an individual investor (e.g. a household or an enterprise) and those that bring benefits in a long term at the level of the economy as a whole, but are too risky for private entities to take. This does not mean that these investments are redundant or would reduce the pace of development of our country, which we explain in a farther part of the Chapter. To this end, we analyse the net result of an investment into particular modernisation measures, confronting it with the emission abatement cost for each of them. At the same time, we assess the impact of the whole package on the expenditures of households, addressing a common charge that the measures which protect the climate have an adverse impact on the financial condition of households, e.g. through increased prices of vehicles, equipment or energy carriers.
Another chapter is devoted to a macroeconomic analysis which covers all the effects which the measures in the package would have on the overall economic situation in our country, including the GDP and employment levels. We indicate that due to linkages among sectors and adjustment mechanisms inherent in the labour, capital and product markets resources can be relocated in such a way that that the adverse effects of initial investment outlays are quickly offset and then surpassed by tangible economic benefits. In order to analyse these processes we applied the MEMO model – a large-scale, multi-sector general equilibrium model, enabling the assessment of the response of the whole economy to the implementation of the proposed measures.
An important element of our analysis is the illustration of the energy effects of the modernisation process and their comparison with the reference scenario. We discuss the trends which will determine the energy consumption in the national economy and its total energy intensity, considering the measures which can improve these indicators to the largest extent and the magnitude of their costs. We place the greatest emphasis on the energy sector and the prospects for its development, including the most comprehensive possible assessment of the effects of decisions taken in designing Poland’s energy mix in the nearest decades.
This part ends with comments regarding the environmental and health-related dimensions of the modernisation scenario and the effects of the continuation of the current passive public policy model. We also look at the emission factors (including the emissions of suspended particulate matter and heavy metals) and we present the methods for reducing their levels and their total external costs which the economy incurs as a result of them and which could be avoided due to the low-emission transformation, with benefits for citizens’ health and the functioning of domestic ecosystems.