Responsibility is the foundation of Poland’s climate policy and our goal is to find the right balance between environment protection and economic and social growth, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said in Berlin on Tuesday.
PM Morawiecki took part in a Petersburg Climate Dialogue Conference at which representatives of more than 30 countries discussed the implementation of the Paris climate summit agreement and preparations for the December UN climate summit (COP24) in Poland’s southern city of Katowice.
In his conference address, PM Morawiecki stressed that Poland aims to achieve sustainable growth not only in the economy, but also in such areas as society and climate.
The meeting in Berlin took place “in the spirit of partnership so that we can consider our common future and prepare an effective meeting as a part of the Katowice summit,” Morawiecki said.
“Our goal is to find a happy medium so that care for the environment does not hinder our economic and social growth. We need to find a common denominator here,” he stressed.
PM Morawiecki stressed that after World War II Poland was dominated by the Soviet Union and as such could not develop nuclear energy, therefore it is now much more difficult for the country to reduce its climate footprint as compared to its western neighbours. Still, Poland was among the countries that ratified the Paris agreement before it entered into force and “together with the EU it undertook to implement the most important contribution to the agreement on a global scale.”
The Polish prime minister said that climate change was undoubtedly one of the biggest global challenges.
For decades, the communist regime in Poland promoted industrial expansion at the cost of the environment, PM Morawiecki said, adding this was also the case in Eastern Germany and other Central European countries. “The costs of such ecological lack of imagination have been exceptionally high,” he added.
PM Morawiecki vowed that at the upcoming climate summit Poland will show determination in fostering regulations to “ensure transparency, legal certainty and sustainability of our principles.”
Poland still relies on fossil fuels, but its economy has been undergoing “massive transformation” and the country has managed to significantly exceed the emission reduction level mentioned in the Kyoto Protocol while “achieving GDP growth and maintaining social peace.”
“The efforts we made over the past 15 to 20 years are the highest in Europe in per capita terms – and (this has been achieved – PAP) in Poland that has no nuclear energy and not many renewable resources,” the prime minister stressed.
Morawiecki also presented his government’s climate programmes, including a USD 25-30 bln housing insulation scheme designed to reduce air pollution and a no-emission transport scheme.
“I believe that this year in Katowice we will make changes together. The Paris Agreement is proof that the world has learnt how to think in terms of alternative costs, and I’m very pleased with it. We can’t afford to underestimate climate change and the Polish green realism is innovation plus social and economic responsibility. This will be our proposal for Europe and the world,” the prime minister concluded.