Climate change mitigation - Drivers and pressures (Poland)
- Climate change
Greenhouse gas emissions in Poland, without taking into account the greenhouse gas balance arising from land use, changes in land use and forestry, amounted to almost 399 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2007 and have not exceeded 400 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent since 1999. In 1988, those emission levels were much higher, reaching almost 570 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. In 1988–1990, there was a significant reduction in emissions to approximately 460 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, as a result of changes in the political system and economic reforms (Fig. 2). This situation resulted from the political transformation commenced and the transition from central planning to a free market economy, resulting in the collapse of many sectors of industry with high energy consumption levels and high emissions.
The main greenhouse gas produced in Poland is CO2 (82 % of emissions). The majority of emissions of that gas come from fuel combustion (92 %), both from stationary sources (such as power plants, co-generation plants) and mobile sources (transport), whilst the remainder, i.e. over 7 %, are connected with industrial processes (Fig. 3).
An analysis of the changes in greenhouse gas emissions by reference to changes in GDP and the consumption of primary energy and electric energy shows that economic growth observed since 1990 had been accompanied by a stabilisation (until 1997) of, and a subsequent reduction in, greenhouse gas emissions (Fig. 4). Trends relating to changes in the consumption of primary energy and electric energy are identical to the pattern of changes in greenhouse gas emissions, although the gap between emissions and primary energy consumption has been widening since 1999, pointing to, among others, a more efficient use of energy in the Polish economy.
It must be emphasised that, despite a dynamic growth of the economy in the period 1990-2007, resulting in, for example, GDP growth of over 75 %, greenhouse gas emissions remain at a stable level of approximately 30 % below the 1988 emission levels. This was possible due to a widespread implementation of modern technologies in industry and the introduction of many instruments, including legal instruments, promoting low-emission and energy-saving solutions.
Fig. 4: Changes in greenhouse gas emissions in Poland (in CO2 equivalent) compared to changes in primary energy consumption, electric energy consumption and GDP in 1990–2008 (1990 = 100 %) (Source: GUS)