Poland’s current economy relies heavily on coal, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the country’s primary energy supply. Over time this has led to high emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG's) and carbon. In effect, this has made Poland among the least energy-efficient countries in the European Union.
To jump-start an initiative to transition to a lower-carbon based economy, Poland decided to become a donor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2005. With its membership, Poland has contributed €2.5 million to the EBRD since its inception. Poland's direct involvement with the EBRD has emphasized improving technological energy resources and diversification through increased usage of renewable energy, improving energy efficiency both on the demand and supply side of the economy. Poland's vision of creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economic market has spurred Poland's capital and largest city of Warsaw to become the first Polish city to join the EBRD Green Cities.
As a representative of EBRD's Green Cities, Warsaw has taken action from its known poor air quality due to its high carbon emissions and air pollution, which adversely impacts almost 1.8 million people living there. Furthermore, Warsaw is Poland's political hub and is widely considered its economic and cultural hub as well, which plays a role in the urgency of becoming part of the EBRD's plan to tackle climate change. Poland joins a list of 43 other European cities such as in Craiova, Romania. These cities are taking part in the €1.5 billion EBRD Green Cities program to work towards a lower-carbon emission-based economy to promote a more sustainable future. Warsaw's plan is to invest in its public transit system and strategize to improve its environmental performance by relying less on coal. While other EBRD Green cities such as Craiova are focusing on ways to invest in greener transport, water, and waste management.
Poland's vision and investment for environmental change seems promising, and it will be interesting to see how this affects their economy’s reliance on non-renewable energy such as coal in the near future. It seems that green tech and environmentally sound energy will likely be prosperous areas for investment and growth in Poland for the coming years.
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