Monday

22nd Apr 2019

Stakeholder

What does Poland (really) want from the 2030 package?

  • The future 2030 framework needs to avoid a “one size fit all” approach. (Photo: German presidency 2007)

European Union leaders are planning a political debate on their 2030 climate-energy package targets when they meet in Brussels at the end of October.

The issue is a sensitive one for Poland: the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE) co-hosted a major conference with Eurelectric in Warsaw on 26 September to debate how to balance climate and energy policies.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

In the run-up to the October 23-24 EU Summit, PKEE is keen to show that the Polish electricity is open to a a positive outcome of the energy package to meet Europe's climate change commitments. But PKEE says the eventual package agreed by EU leaders should take account of Poland's starting point when it comes to emission cuts.

Polish Energy Group (PGE) CEO Marek Woszczyk explains here why the EU's package has to be flexible enough to cater for each member state.

Why is Poland dragging its feet on the 2030 Package?

Poland and the Polish energy sector strongly support efforts targeted at cutting CO2 emissions. We've already done a lot. Our economy decreased its CO2 footprint by 30% in the last 25 years. The power sector has achieved efen higher reduction – 35% as compared to the Kyoto Protocol targets. There are only a few countries as dedicated to emissions reductions as Poland. Other examples: the Polish share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix rose from 1 to 14% in just six years (installed capacity).

At the same time, Eurostat data shows how Poland is the sixth most energy secure country in the European Union. A tougher climate policy would force Poland to suspend the mining of its coal and lignite resources, which in turn would mean importing natural gas from outside the EU and decrease national security. Conventional power production in the short and medium term can only be substituted by gas-fired power plants, and that would mean Central European economies would have to turn to Russia's Gazprom to fill the gap.

Ultimately, this is not about being against climate change policies, but rather about how we decide such policies. Europe shouldn't force Member States to forego their sovereign right to determine their energy mix – that was a right already enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. If policies are imposed irresponsibly, they could trigger socio-economic problems and undermine our energy security.

Why do you think the 2030 Package would lead to price rises?

The European Commission is about to increase emissions reduction targets prior to taking such decisions at the global level. This is likely to marginalize the EU in the negotiating process and lead to a significant increase of energy prices, particularly in Member States using fossil-fuels to generate electricity. This is because energy prices are linked to CO2 prices and they will peak if the non-carbon/green economy is promoted while the EU continues to rely on fossil-fuels. We should also remember that we need this form of conventional energy to ensure security of supply.

What do you propose then?

The costs of decarbonization should be examined more closely for each Member State, with detailed impact assessments, before we agree on the 2030 framework. The decarbonization policy will affect Member States very differently depending on a variety of factors including their fuel mix, their historical economic structure, their ability to pay for emissions reductions, their domestic resources etc. The future 2030 framework needs to avoid a "one size fit all" approach.

The Ukraine crisis should remind European policymakers that indigenous energy resources - including Polish coal - are an important buffer against gas supply disruptions. Member States should not be penalized with heavy carbon costs if we want to maintain energy independence in the EU.

The European Commission should also set a firm deadline for Member States to phase out subsidies for renewable energy. Cheap renewable power in Germany in particular is distorting central Europe's electricity market. Renewables are important, but it will be decades before they become a key energy source for Poland and many other industrialized countries.

The solution for conventional energy has to be a continuance of partially free allocation of allowances to the sector. Such an exemption would allow Poland's power sector to use the funds saved on carbon costs to invest in much needed modernization and diversification.

Only lessening the burden on the operational side by enabling free allocation to carbon intensive power sectors can shield end consumers from rapid price increases. This price needs to be affordable for consumers – it is of outmost importance.

This free allocation should be set with fuel-specific benchmarks to reward the most efficient power generation sources of each fuel.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Time for EU energy union, says Polish PM

The European Union must create an energy union to secure its supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said.

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

What are the EU climate talks about?

With climate targets only set at the EU level, the key question is how member states will be persuaded to do their share.

A new strategy to promote gender equality through football

Recognising the passion for women's football and its potential offers vast untapped opportunities, FIFA is committed to reaching an ambitious goal: by 2026, the number of women's footballers is to be doubled from 30 million to 60 million players worldwide.

Digital 'Iron Curtain' makes no sense in 5G era

5G technology is a product of global innovation and cooperation. Drawing an Iron Curtain would therefore have an impact on all: Chinese, Europeans, Americans, and others alike.

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  6. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  7. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  9. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  11. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  12. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us