2050 EU Green Deal target – Pole(mic)

Why Poland CAN and SHOULD hit 2050 EU Green Deal target – Pole(mic)

Disclaimer. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Redshaw Advisors or its members.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend shared an article on her Twitter account entitled Why Poland can’t and won’t hit 2050 EU Green Deal target by Piotr Arak.

The article immediately caught my eye and having read it I felt compelled to comment on her tweet pointing out to where the author has departed from facts and where in my humble opinion he’d made an important omission which undermines his subsequent reasoning and, ultimately, the article’s title and conclusion.

A few weeks later I still feel the urge to address this article and here’s why:

–          Poland is the only country in the EU still resisting commitment to a 2050 NetZero goal

–          As such, Poland is often seen (particularly in the EU) as having little if any interest in addressing climate change, no will to ‘do its bit’ or worse still, having the nerve to demand from the rest of the EU to be treated differently (in effect by asking for even more funds than it currently receives)

–          Furthermore, public and private sector companies in Poland are, in my experience, also often critical of EU climate policy and its ‘unrealistic’ goals which they believe will have mostly negative impacts on them and the Polish economy.

Consequently, it appears there’s little hope for reaching some form of compromise on this very important issue any time soon. Indeed, the German presidency of the EU, which started on July 1st, will need to deal with Poland’s objections if they are to succeed in delivering  the EU’s Green Deal proposals next year.

This stalemate has ramifications not only for Poland (potentially by excluding the EU’s 6th most industrialised economy from the generous Green Deal package), the EU (as the delay affects the speed and progress of Brussels’ efforts to deliver its ambitious plan) but also for international trade and global efforts to mitigate and adapt to challenges resulting from climate change. After all, many nations around the world such as Canada, South Korea and Japan are hoping to follow a path similar to that advocated by Ursula von der Leyen and her allies. However,      it appears almost inevitable that, if no meaningful solution is found, that it will be Polish companies and Poland’s economy that will suffer the most significant negative impacts.

Thus, this article aims to cast light on some common misperceptions in respect of Poland’s stance on climate change, on its carbon neutrality potential and on where Poland and the EU can potentially find common ground. This is a topic close to my professional and personal interests and which, through my work at Redshaw Advisors,      I often discuss with customers, colleagues and others directly involved in the transition to a net zero economy.    

Given the complexity of the matter, I certainly do not have the audacity to claim I’ve got a silver bullet that can provide a solution for all of challenges involved. However, in respect of the New Green Deal negotiations, I believe there’s a few conclusions that can be easily drawn.

A good starting point is to address the omission made in the article that sparked this opinion piece. The author begins with some good general observations with respect to Poland and its struggle with the EU in reaching an agreement, before stating its thesis that the root of all evil is on this occasion not merely money but also time.      The author will later support his assertion which to me appears somewhat over simplistic with nonetheless valid but maybe incomplete arguments, but I will get to that later as the said omission can be found right in the next sentence where Arak explains that ‘the primary long-term goal of the European Union [achieving net-zero emissions by 2050] (…) means that it is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the amount absorbed by forests across the EU.’ Here I disagree most strongly and find it necessary to point out that although emissions reduction is the prime and preferred mean of achieving the net-zero target it is generally understood it is not the only available option as it is not economically and practically possible and viable to achieve that target for virtually any country or company with emissions reduction alone. Instead, it is widely accepted these days that countries and companies alike should build their netzero strategies with the following hierarchy:

 

  1. Measure and avoid or reduce emissions wherever possible
  2. Switch to renewable energy
  3. Through transition period sequestering or offsetting any remaining emissions

 

Furthermore, more and more attention is also attributed recently to carbon negative technologies which allow for emissions to be removed from the atmosphere and so advance our efforts in fighting climate change most effectively.

Clearly reducing emissions is not the only way to achieve 2050 target and so the rest of the article can now be seen from a different perspective. This, however, will be the topic of the next article.

 

Kuba Hiterski

Consultant

Tel. : 02036371055 

Email: kuba@redshawadvisors.com

 

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