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Poland Sectors

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

Emissions from the transport sector in Poland have more than tripled since 1990, driven mostly by people driving more. As a result, the sector’s share of Poland’s total greenhouse gas emissions increased from 5% to 16%. To be 1.5°C compatible, emissions from this sector need to reduce by between 45% and 81% by 2030 and by between 78-93% by 2040 in comparison to 2019. The sector could be fully decarbonised at the beginning of the 2050s.

All scenarios assumed lower energy consumption from the sector in 2040 and 2050 and much lower carbon intensity of the energy consumed. Electrification of transport is the main driver of emissions reductions, with some role played by hydrogen. Some scenarios also assume an important role for biofuels; however, the implementation of such scenarios could have negative impacts in Poland for food security and emissions from other sectors, especially LULUCF.

Poland is lagging behind other countries in decarbonising its transport sector. In 2021 less than 6% of cars sold in Poland were electric, much below the average EU level of 24%. With average emissions of new vehicles sold in 2020 at 125 gCO₂/km, Poland was also much worse than the EU average of 108 gCO₂/km.11 With 662 passenger cars per 1000 citizens, Poland ranks 3rd in terms of the motorisation rate in the EU.12

In addition to accelerating the electrification of its transport sector, Poland also needs to increase availability of public transport that would reduce the need for car ownership, especially in rural areas.

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 transport sector

petajoule per year

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

Polandʼs transport sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)


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

1.5°C compatible transport sector benchmarks

Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, biofuels and hydrogen in the transport final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Poland

Decarbonised transport sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
12 to 35
5 to 14
2052 to 2053
Relative to reference year in %
−81 to −45%
−93 to −78%
Share of electricity
10 to 28
21 to 59
28 to 70
Share of biofuels
12 to 17
18 to 34
17 to 53
Share of hydrogen
3 to 9
8 to 42
21 to 50