Fast change to clean energy would benefit Poland – World Bank

Scaling up renewable energy sources in Poland would benefit the economy, improve people’s health, and reduce serious environmental problems, says a new World Bank report.

According to the new World Bank report, "Poland Energy Transition: The Path to Sustainability in the Electricity and Heating Sector," published on Thursday, an ambitious target for Poland would be for the share of renewable energy in power generation to reach almost 50 percent by 2030 (versus 14 percent now) - with the share of coal dropping below 40 percent (versus 80 percent now).

This transition would drastically lower air pollutants and CO2 emissions while costing the economy just seven percent more than the transition now planned by the Polish government. Furthermore, the local and global environmental benefits would fully compensate for these additional costs, emphasises the World Bank.

"Poland has already achieved success in decoupling economic growth from emissions. It has simultaneously increased its gross domestic product seven times and decreased its emissions in the electricity and heating sector by 30 percent since 1989," says Carlos Pinerua, World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic States.

He pointed out that "Poland’s heavy reliance on coal creates serious environmental problems and imposes heavy health costs on the population, who breathe polluted air." He added that the analysis "shows that investing in renewables now would be good for people’s health, as well as economically justified."