In the Polish public debate there is now a clash between three views on the European climate policy: sceptics take action to reduce its importance, minimalists want to keep the policy in its present shape, while its supporters take efforts to ensure that more ambitious targets are set for the future. Almost all the important actors of public life (including political parties, the public administration and the majority of business representatives) represent the first two of the views mentioned. The third scenario is supported first of all by nongovernmental organisations, enterprises operating in the field of new technologies and some of local communities.
In this part, we would like to make the readers acquainted with the history of climate policy in Poland and present the possible directions and prospects of its development. Chapter One shows the factors which have shaped the decisions that Poland has taken to date in the area of climate protection and attempts to explain the present negative attitude to the Community requirements concerning the reduction and efficiency targets. In Chapter Two, we propose specific measures which the public policy makers can implement and which, if implemented correctly and taking into account the specificity of Polish society, can bring the expected effects and gain the approval of the public.
The building of a low-emission economy is a long-term action which needs planning and a willingness to pursue the same policy, which is uniform in terms of its direction and orientation, over two or three decades. However, the dominating view in Poland is that it involves high costs, an inevitable increase in energy expenditures, a deterioration of the competitiveness of foreign trade, overregulation of the economy and lower employment. What is also important is the concern that this process is too complicated for the Polish state to implement it successfully. In the previous parts, we demonstrated that this conviction was not correct.
In Chapter One, we try to describe in detail the boundary conditions for the pursuit of climate policy in Poland and to explain their origin. Although the talks with the European Union are becoming increasingly difficult, we show that they may end in an arrangement which would satisfy both sides. Indeed, we argue that the realities of the worldwide low-emission trend and the related competition require investments in emission reductions. For Poland this means innovations, energy security and a higher position of our country on the international scene. We also have an opportunity for joining the countries which shape the Community climate policy instead of remaining alone in opposition to its targets.
The excessive reticence in this respect may make it difficult to fully use the development opportunities which the Polish economy will have in a medium term and also expose Polish society to the need to bear longer than necessary the burden of adverse external effects of the coal-based orientation of the energy sector. Therefore, the question about the feasibility of achieving a low-emission transformation is in fact a question about the quality of the Polish policy and its ability to consciously shape Poland’s socio-economic development in the timeframe of many decades. It also means the need to go beyond the framework of the reference scenario described in the previous parts and to implement the changes presented there in order to modernise the different areas of economic activities.
In Chapter Two, we arrange in correct order the types of tools which will help Poland to achieve the designated objectives of the low-emission transformation. We suggest a specific shape of measures, their timeframe and the manner of financing and managing the necessary changes, indicating the entities responsible for their implementation. We attribute objectives and benefits to the measures and explain why a given tool possibly can support the low-emission development strategy. We also try to outline a general framework for creating good public policies, drawing on the experiences of the Western countries. An important message of this chapter is that it is only coordinated, multi-plane measures that can guarantee an effective and timely achievement of the objectives which are desirable form the points of view of Poland and the EU.