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Current situation

What is Polandʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

Due to economic transformation in the early 1990s, Poland’s emissions fell from 475 MtCO₂e/yr in 1990 to 396 MtCO₂e/yr in 2000. Afterwards they remained relatively steady with emissions in 2018 even slightly above the 2000 levels. Between 1990 and 2019, Poland’s emissions fell by 17%, much below the EU’s emissions reduction by almost 26%, with the bulk of reductions taking place prior to 2000.

In 2019, Poland’s power sector (with heat generation) was responsible for almost 38% of Poland’s GHGs emissions and 40% of the CO₂ emissions. This is significantly above the EU’s average at around a quarter of all emissions. While emissions from transport constituted a much smaller share of 17%, there is a continued upward trend of the emissions from this sector, which has already tripled from 1990 emission levels.

Implementation of current policies will result in emissions increasing by 3% in the 2020s, mainly driven by the transport sector, with emissions from the power sector remaining at the same levels.5

1 Polish Government. Polityka energetyczna Polski do 2040 r. (2021).

2 European Commission. Impact Assessment; Stepping up Europe’s 2030 climate ambition. Investing in a climate-neutral future for the benefit of our people. (European Commission, 2020).

3 Eurostat. Population on 1st January by age, sex and type of projection. (2021).

4 European Environment Agency. EEA greenhouse gas – data viewer. (2021).

5 European Environmental Agency. Trends and projections in Europe 2020 – Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets. (2020).

6 Eurostat. Gross inland consumption. (2021).

7 Ancygier, A. Misfit of Interests instead of the “Goodness of Fit”? Implementation of European Directives 2001/77/EC and 2009/28/EC in Poland. (2013).

8 NIK. Rozwój Sektora Odnawialnych Źródeł Energii. (2017).

9 European Council. Conclusions of the European Council meeting on 12 December 2019. (2019).

10 Ministry of Climate. Polityka energetyczna Polski do 2040 r. (2020).

11 European Environmental Agency. EEA greenhouse gas data viewer. (2021). (Accessed: 25th January 2021)..

12 LULUCF sinks assumed are based on the current levels provide by the EEA: -36 MtCO₂e in 2018.4

13 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

14 In some of the analysed pathways, the power sector assumes already a certain amount of carbon dioxide removal technologies, in this case bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Polandʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Transport
  • Buildings
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Other
  • Agriculture
  • Industry (processes)
  • Waste
  • LULUCF
Energy (83%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
080%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
093%0
Agriculture
00
Industry (processes)
079%0

Energy system

The comparatively slow emissions reduction in Poland was driven by changes in the energy mix. After a decrease until 2002 and subsequent increase in 2019, overall energy consumption reached the same levels as in 1990. But the composition of fuels had changed substantially. The share of coal decreased from 76% of energy supply in 1990 to 42% in 2019. Most of this decrease was compensated by an increase in oil consumption which rose from 13% in 1990 to 30% in 2019. The share of natural gas and renewables also increased by 8% each, reaching 16 and 10% respectively.6

These developments reflect the lack of meaningful climate policy measures. Support mechanisms for renewable energy in the power sector have been characterised by frequent changes and unpredictability.7 There have been no meaningful policies to decarbonise the transport sector, except for short-lived support for first-generation biofuels. The very successful support scheme for solar thermal collectors introduced in the early 2010s, was abolished in 2014.8

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Base year emissions target

NDC target

  • As expressed by the country: 30% below 1990 by 2030 (incl. LULUCF).
  • Re-expressed excluding LULUCF below 1990: 29% below 1990 by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).

Note: Calculated based on Annex to the Poland’s Energy Policy Until 2040, table 28 and historic emissions data for 1990 from the European Environment Agency.4,10

Market mechanism

  • Emissions from industry and electricity are covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

Long-term target

  • None. Poland has said it is not ready to contribute to the EU’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050.9

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • Increase the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption to 23% by 2030.
  • Improve energy efficiency by 23% in comparison to projections for 2030 (-6% decrease in comparison to 2019).1

Transport

  • Increase the share of renewables to 14% (including “multipliers”).1

Power

  • Increase the share of renewables to at least 32% of generation.
  • Offshore wind: 5.9 GW by 2030, 8-10 GW by 2040.
  • PV: 5-7 GW by 2030, 10-16 GW by 2040.
  • Nuclear: 1.6 GW in 2030 and subsequent blocks every 2-3 years.
  • Coal: The share of coal to decrease to between 37-56% in 2030 and between 11-28% in 2040.1

Buildings

  • Increase the share of renewables to 28% in the heating sector.1

Footnotes