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Poland's GDP could get a boost from reducing energy consumption in the economy

Published: 07.01.2016

Poland should reduce energy consumption in its industry and agriculture, and improve energy efficiency. This could boost the country's GDP by 1.5% by 2050, according to calculations of consultancy Deloitte analysts.

In its attempts to meet the goals of the global climate agreement, i.e. limiting the global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level, Poland should focus on measures lowering energy consumption in the economy, the experts believe. This, in turn, would reduce greenhouse gases emissions and environment pollution, and would directly support economic growth and international competitiveness.

Combating the global warming will be linked, above all, to the realization of the climate policy to 2030, adopted by the EU. This policy assumes a 40% CO2 emission reduction target as well as an increase in the share of renewables in the EU energy mix to at least 27%. Improving energy efficiency by at least 27% will be another key objective.

Savings surging to more than EUR 2 bln

A reduction in energy consumption of the Polish industry, farming and waste management may yield net savings of EUR 0.5 bln by 2030 and EUR 2.3 bln by 2050. It could also help reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 6.6% by 2030 and by more than 10% by 2050, Deloitte analysts calculate.

“An improvement of energy efficiency will positively influence the economic outcomes of both enterprises and households. Energy savings will be directly reflected in money savings, which will allow to free funds for further investments and production development, and will allow for increasing the number of jobs,” said the leader of Deloitte's sustainable development team for Poland and CE, Irena Pichola.

“Thanks to measures aimed at improving energy efficiency of the Polish economy, our GDP could grow by 1.5% by 2050. Thus, implementing in Poland the regulations resulting from the EU directive for energy efficiency will constitute a good benchmark for companies which hinge their activity in this area on the legal obligations and potential financial incentives,” she added.

Climate change and warming a challenge for some firms

In the opinion of Deloitte's expert Magdalena Dembinska, the climate change poses a long-term challenge for business as evidenced by this year's heat wave and drought which resulted in energy supply limitations for large enterprises with high energy consumption and consequent cuts in production.

“One should expect such situations to occur again or even intensify in the future. According to the Environment Ministry, Poland sustained PLN 54 bln losses in 2001-2010 as a result of phenomena connected to climate change. Without adaptation measures, the losses will grow to PLN 86 bln in 2011-2020 and to PLN 119 bln in 2021-2030. That is why companies should already consider the type and the scale of influence of the changing environmental conditions on the development of their business and take appropriate adaptation measures,” Dembinska said.

Australia is the country which emits the most CO2 per citizen per year at 16.9k tons. The US, Brazil and Canada are close behind. Poland, with 8.5k tons, boasts a better score than Germany (10.2k), but a worse one than the UK (7.5k), Italy (6.4k) or France (5.7k).
Source: Trends in global CO2 emissions

Deloitte experts note that the fight with the global warming and excessive emissions is also the fight for improving people's health, something that currently is of key importance for Poland in the context of smog caused by the so-called low-stack emission, i.e. pollution from installations with exhaust lower than 40m. This pollution comes from individual household furnaces, small heating plants and transportation. Low-stack emission is dangerous due to the lack of control over the pollution, its content and concentration.

“While Poland has been steadily reducing the level of CO2 emissions, it still has not tackled such problems as particulate matter emissions or air pollution with carcinogenic  benzo(a)pyrene. According to the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), in 2010-2013, PM10 normative levels were exceeded countrywide in over 75% of all zones where air assessment is conducted, and in the case of benzo(a)pyrene in some 90% of the zones,” the analysts note.

Pichola believes that the best way to reduce low-stack emission would be a switch of households to network heat or the use of modern low-emission coal furnaces by these households.

“Local governments could encourage them to do so, by investing in the development of heat infrastructure, creating an incentive system for high-emission furnaces replacement and introducing emission norms for furnaces that would be effectively adhered to,” the analyst adds.

In her opinion, city authorities should also promote city transportation and consider an introduction of reduced transport emission zones in the most polluted parts of the cities. Thus, they may not only reduce traffic congestion, but above all improve the air quality and positively influence the health of citizens.

Source - Polish Press Agency, Economic Service 

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Published by: Piotr Krupa
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Last change: 07.01.2016
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