The main message of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si has not yet reached many parts of Polish society. These days, diplomats in Paris are trying to agree on an international treaty which would combat global warming. Around the world, thousands of green initiatives have been created. Secular, clergy, leftists and right-wing groups increasingly realize that climate change is not an invention by freaky scientists, but that it is in fact one of the biggest challenges to our societies of our time. Michal Olszewski explains.
There is a political shift in Poland. The right leaning parties have won the general elections: this means that the centrist Civic Platform (PO) – after eight years of ruling – has turned into the opposition again. As Michał Olszewski warns, this could lead to a number of severe consequences for the Polish political landscape, however, there are also some possibilities of shaping environmental policy, both nationally and internationally.
The extreme heatwave this summer has put additional pressure on the Polish power system. Energy planners and policy makers in the country should no longer just be worried about power outages in winter, argues Michal Olszewski. Summer heat could be just as disruptive.
On August 6, the new Polish president – Andrzej Duda, from the right-wing and anti European Law and Justice Party (PiS) – will be sworn into office. And if the current political winds do not change, we can expect a substantial shift in the Polish parliament after the general elections in the fall, warns Michał Olszewski. Current polls suggest that the PiS will gain a significant margin. Pessimists warn that we should be prepared for a “Hungarian scenario”.
In March this year, Poland finally decided to support decentralized rooftop PV. Since then, opponents have managed to dismantle the project step by step. Michał Olszewski reports from Poland.
Polish authorities find it hard to decide what to do with their current nuclear program, once announced as the great hope for its energy system. No decision at the moment looks like a deliberate strategy although it will not solve the problems of Polish energy supply, as Michał Olszewski explains.
Poland was instrumental in preventing more ambitious goals at last fall’s EU energy and climate target negotiations in Brussels. Over the long run, however, this strategy may backfire, as Michał Olszewski warns.
Poland is one of the key actors preventing more progressive European climate policies. Why? Polish miners are one of the very few social forces that the Polish government is really afraid of, explains Michal Olszewski.
In order to greenwash its coal power plants and fulfill EU requirements, Poland co-fires biomass with coal. While this is a phenomenon common in many European countries, Michał Olszewski argues that it does not make sense for the environment and helps coal companies.
The Polish government is one of the proponents of a European energy union. Unfortunately, its sole concerns are cheap access to gas and the survival of Polish coal – a goal that runs completely contrary to the EU’s climate policy, argues Michał Olszewski.