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Poland Sectors

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

Between 1990 and 2019 emissions from the buildings sector in Poland decreased by 12%, a slightly slower rate of decrease than for overall emissions, which fell by 16% in the same period. That was significantly lower than the EU’s rate of decrease where emissions fell by 29% in the buildings sector. The share of emissions from this sector in overall emissions increased slightly from 8.5% in 1990 to 14% 2019.

Poland’s buildings sector relies heavily on coal for heating. Over 75% of coal burned directly in EU households in 2018 was burned in Poland – an increase of 4% in comparison to a decade earlier. This has significant negative impacts, not only for CO₂ emissions, but also for high levels of air pollution.

As a result, moving away from coal in the household sector, mainly through electrification and heat pumps, would not only reduce GHGs emissions, but would also have significant co-benefits in the form of improved air quality. According to 1.5°C compatible scenarios, by 2030 the share of electricity as the source of energy in the household is set to double and reach 48% and almost triple to 67% by 2050.

Poland’s housing sector has significant energy efficiency potential. Implementation of energy efficiency measures is essential in getting the sector on a 1.5°C emissions pathway. Energy efficiency can be improved by strict standards for new builds and deep renovation of existing building stock. In addition, some scenarios assume hydrogen to play a role especially post 2030. Through electrification, energy efficiency measures and the use of green hydrogen, the Polish buildings sector can be almost completely decarbonised between 2047 and 2050.

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

2 Ministerstwo Klimatu i Środowiska. Polityka energetyczna Polski do 2040 r. (2021).

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

4 Forum Energii. Energy transition in Poland | 2022 Edition. (2022).

5 Eurostat. Gross inland consumption. (2021).

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

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

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

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

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

11 ACEA. Interactive map – CO2 emissions from new passenger cars in the EU, by country. ACEA. (2021).

12 ACEA. Vehicles in use in Europe 2022. (2022).

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

14 LULUCF sinks assumed are based on the current levels provide by the EEA: -36 MtCO₂e in 2018.10

15 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.

16 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.10,13

17 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 energy mix in the buildings sector

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
Low energy demand
20192030204020501 0001 500
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 0001 500
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Oil and e-fuels
  • Biomass
  • Biogas
  • Biofuel
  • Electricity
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen

Polandʼs buildings sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible buildings sector benchmarks

Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, heat and biomass in the buildings final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Poland

Decarbonised buildings sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
16 to 17
8 to 10
3 to 6
2047 to 2050
Relative to reference year in %
−55 to −53%
−78 to −73%
−92 to −84%
Share of electricity
40 to 48
50 to 54
58 to 67
Share of heat
23 to 26
29 to 30
33 to 38
Share of hydrogen
1 to 11
8 to 14
15 to 17