24 June 2010

Poland 'needs more time' to meet EU climate target

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As 94% of Poland's electricity comes from coal, the country says it needs ''more time than others'' to meet its CO2 reduction targets outlined in the 'Europe 2020' strategy. Polish industry is even more critical of the goals. EurActiv Poland reports.

After the EU summit on 17 June, which adopted the 'Europe 2020' strategy for growth and jobs (see 'Background'), Polish experts on energy and climate change warned that the new strategy will repeat the mistakes of the EU's climate and energy package.

Adam B. Czyżewski, chief economist at Polish company PKN Orlen, one of Central Europe's largest refiners of crude oil, outlined what he sees as the main weaknesses of the environment strategy:

- The EU's climate and energy objectives lack a broader global reference: if only the EU sets such ambitious aims, its market will become less cost-effective and consequently less competitive on the global stage. Secondly, if only Europe pursues environment-friendly goals, such single-handed action will not succeed in preventing or significantly reducing climate change.
- The year 2020 is too short a horizon for the environmental strategy, as within this time-frame prospective investments in new technologies will not have produced measurable effects.
- The 20/20/20 objectives are over-ambitious and/or miscalculated. With a maximum exploitation of the available instruments the attainable levels are 14/10/10: a 14% cut in greenhouse gas emissions, a 10% increase in the share of renewables in Poland's energy mix and a 10% cut in energy consumption. However, 10/7/6 is a more realistic aim.
- The EU's strategy involves the costly yet ineffective allocation of resources, since too many measures are to be assigned to the development of wind energy. Simultaneously, demand for energy from coal and gas is neglected, perpetuating Europe's dependence on Russian gas and weakening its energy security as a consequence.


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