Kyoto Protocol UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun Case Study

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Kyoto Protocol & Poland

Kyoto Protocol - UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun & Poland

Kyoto Protocol -- UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun & Poland

Climate change has been the most important environmental challenge to create the plans and policies for sustainable resource development. United Nations also recognized this challenge and adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This agreement was signed by 150 countries including Poland (Ministry of Environment, 2006). The current essay is about the position of Poland in Climate Change conference in Cancun in 2010 and the factors behind achieving this position.

"The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012." (United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change, 1)

This agreement was adopted first time by Japan in 1997 and was ratified in 2005. Under this agreement the countries are bound to reduce GNG omissions and meet the set target using national measures. In addition to national measures Kyoto Protocol helps the member countries to reduce GNG emissions through three market-based mechanisms (United Nations website, 1)

The statistics show that average carbon emissions in Poland were 31% lower than 1980 which is the base year and thus Poland is on target towards achieving its Kyoto target by the end of 2010. (Poland Country Profile, 2011)

Poland is a European country having coal as its main source of energy. Coal has been the most profuse and is widely used as energy resource all through the world. (International Energy Agency, 1997). Coal is usually categorized into four classifications. These include lignite, subituminous, bituminous and anthracite (Montogomery, 2003). Out of these categories anthracite, bituminous, and higher value sub-bituminous hold the most calorific vale of greater than 5.700 Kcal/kg on moisture, ash-free basis (Wold Bank, 2007). As described by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), these three types are considered hard-coal.

Poland is the second major produce of coal in Europe and it depends coal for its energy as well as for its economic growth (Blaschke, 2004). It was coal sector that helped the polish economy to rebuild after World War II and this industry was considered backbone of the economy of the country. Yet with the passage of time energy has become a political as well as environmental issue. Coal was given much importance during the communist administration. Because during this time Poland's economic policy was influenced by the decisions made in former Soviet Union and thus coal industry was also influenced. Poland adopted the Soviet Model of development and thus the demand of coal arose as it was being used in metallurgical, engineering and electric power industries. In addition the surplus coal was exported to the Soviet Union. Soviet Union considered Polish coal a major contributor to its economic performance (Riley and Tkocz, 1998). Thus these have been the conditions that coal became the most important sector in Poland although there was no economic explanation for it (Europe Economics, 2006). The economic policy was adopted by government that made it cheap and subsidized. It was not the duty of the industry to apply energy efficient latest technologies. The industry was bound to supply the coal as required apart from of its price.

As the communist regime ended the structure of the industry also changed. Yet, coal remains the important and influential sector in Poland. (Europe Economics, 2006).

This transformation not only has impact on the society and economy but also on environment. Researchers have stated that coal has negative impact on environment as coal is used for energy in Poland that results in large amounts of carbon emissions polluting the environment. Many international agreements have been signed by the Polish government to reduce these emissions.

One of the major agreements is Kyoto Protocol under which Poland agreed to reduce the carbon emission and greenhouse gases 6% below its 1988 levels by 2008-2012. This agreement was signed by the Polish government in 1998 and was ratified in 2002. (Energy Information Administration, 2003)

Beside Kyoto Protocol, Poland has also signed other agreement in order to control emissions which include UNECE Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Convention and the UNECE Second Sulfur and NOx Protocols (International Energy Agency, 2004). The country agreed to make 66% reduction by 2010 on a 1980 baseline under the UNECE Second Sulfur and Nx protocols. The practical steps have been taken as a law framework was adopted in 2001 which include creation of 2nd National Environmental Policy. This policy was made incorporating the principles of the EU 5th and 6th Environmental Action Programs. These programs include: "climate change, nature and biodiversity, environment and health and natural resources and waste" (International Energy Agency, 2004).

Under these agreements Poland is bound to strict emissions standards including many European Union Directives. The position of Poland in the Cancun Conference was not strong due to the fact that it applied to take extension to implement these agreements. For example, in 2004 before joining the EU it negotiated to extend the implementation to the EU IPPC Directives that obligates the EU member countries to become accustomed to implement stricter emissions levels for SO2, NOx and particulates (International Energy Agency, 2004). Also, it got extension to implement EU air pollution regulations to cover main combustion plant by 2017 (International Energy Agency, 2004)

Poland has made efforts to reduce GHG emissions and to reduce the environmental impacts of its energy consumption. All the new power plants that have been established after 1990 are prepared with new installations such as NOx concentric firing systems, swirl low NOx burners, flue gas recirculation and limestone/gypsum flue gas desulphurization (FGD) systems. By adopting these measures in addition to using lower sulfur coals, Poland has been successful to improve environment and reduce environmental impact.

Adoption of Sustainable Energy Policy

After signing Kyoto Protocol and other major agreements related to environmental issues and reduction of GNG emission, Polish government developed and introduced its energy policy. Sustainable energy was a phenomenon introduced by UN particularly when a report "Our Common Future" was published in 1987. In this report sustainability was defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future governments to meet their needs." (United Nations, 1987)

The energy policies adopted by Poland include the Second National Environmental Policy which was aimed at setting out the measure for the reduction of energy intensity of the economy. Then there is National Environmental Policy for 2003-3006 which was aimed at considering the outlook for 2007-2010 and it set out the priority directions of actions that were set by adopting Environment Action Program of EU (Ministry of Environment, 2011). The national energy policy describes to adopt energy efficient measures in all the sectors of economy in Poland.

Another important policy is Poland-2025 that is a long-term plan for addressing environmental issues and has been developed under incorporating the Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland (Ministry of Environment, 2003). The policy aims to eliminate the economic activities that prove harmful for the environment and human health. Also through this policy, the government will promote sustainable management methods for environment. This document also addressed the issue of greenhouse gas emissions and strategies to improve the efficient use of energy in the country.

In brief much has been done to meet the requirement of the Kyoto Protocol in Poland. Yet, there is a need to improve the strategies and policies to make environment completely free from carbon. There is need to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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