In a Nutshell

  • Poland has not committed to the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal and lacks a national climate law for carbon neutrality. However, Poland does consider leveraging the forestry sector’s potential to meet its climate targets.
  • Following recent amendments to the Mining Law, Poland’s legal framework now permits onshore CO2 storage, a significant step away from previous prohibitions. These amendments open the door for carbon removal deployment in Poland.
  • Through the Forest Carbon Farm (FCF) initiative, Poland aims to improve the carbon sequestration capacity of its forest ecosystems, aiming to improve its carbon inventory and bolster emissions reporting for Central European forests.
  • The November 2023 elections in Poland have brought a new government to power.

Role for carbon removal in national climate policy

As of December 2023, Poland is also still missing a national climate law, meaning no clear role for carbon removals in national climate policy has been established, setting Poland apart from other member states.

 

In the country’s 2021-2030 Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), there is little information on policies and measures that would increase removals in the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector, which could potentially be used to comply with the targets for sectors not covered by the EU Emission Trading System.  If necessary to achieve its 2030 non-ETS target, Poland intends on using the LULUCF flexibility mechanism, as well as the Article 10(2) adjustment, constituting a transfer of 7.5 Mt CO2e and transfers from other member states, as well as from the safety reserve set under the Effort Sharing Regulation. While the NECP mentions afforestation and improved forest management as means of increasing carbon removals, no specific measures are outlined in the plan.

 

Poland plans to increase the use of biomass in the energy sector until 2040, which could potentially deliver negative emissions through the deployment of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). However, such an application is not specifically mentioned in policy documents. The energy sector is also encouraged to utilise waste biomass that cannot be used in other sectors, including forestry residues.

 

Poland launched the (FCF) pilot project in 2017 to explore and enhance the capacity of forest ecosystems to retain and increase carbon sequestration. The FCF project is set to last ten years, but monitoring and assessment will last for another 20 years beyond the life cycle of the project. One of the key goals of the project is to improve the carbon balance inventory in forest ecosystems and improve data acquisition for emissions reporting and removal to ultimately contribute to a more robust carbon removal model tailored to Central European forests.

Support for R&D and Innovation

Apart from the Forest Carbon Farm pilot programme, there are currently no other initiatives or programmes in Poland’s national policy to support carbon removals despite recent investigations by the Polish Geological Institute on the country’s potential for carbon storage.

 

The Polish EU-CCS Interconnector project recently received EUR 2.5 million to fund feasibility studies on the project. An open-access multi-modal liquid CO2 import-export terminal would be built if this project moves forward.

On the horizon

Poland has yet to submit its draft updated NECP to the European Commission,  due on 30 June 2023. This policy should detail measures that the country is set to implement to meet its climate targets up to 2030.

 

Donald Tusk was officially elected as the new Prime Minister of Poland on 11 December 2023. His investiture and the resulting change of government will likely represent a radical change compared to the former government that did not prioritise climate action. The Tusk government is yet to release a concrete climate policy roadmap.

Contributors

Targets

  1. Net zero target: 2030
  2. Net Negative Target:

    No

  3. First interim target:
  4. Type of interim target: No target
  5. GHGs covered: Carbon dioxide only
  6. Separate target for emission reduction and removals: No
  7. Comprehensive CDR Target: no
  8. CDR Target for Conventional Removals: no
  9. CDR Target for Novel Removals: no
  10. Historical emissions: No
  11. Annual reporting mechanism: Less than annual reporting

CDR Plans

  1. Plans for carbon removal (CDR): Not Specified
  2. Planning to use external carbon credits:
  3. Conditions on use of carbon credits:

Key stakeholders

  • The Ministry of Climate and Environment of Poland: The ministry was established in 2020 following the merger of the water management arm of the Ministry of Marine Economy and Inland Navigation with the environment department of the Ministry of Environment. This governmental body, headed by Minister Anna Moskwa since 2021, is responsible for national policies on climate, energy, forestry and water management.
  • State Forests: Known in Poland as Lasy Państwowe, State Forests is an entity that manages most forested areas in Poland on behalf of the State Treasury, covering approximately 25% of the country’s territory and 77.8% of its forested land. Established in 1924, this organisation is mandated to be financially self-sustaining while ensuring the protection, sustainable maintenance, and use of forest resources. Overseeing a vast expanse of forests, State Forests is organised into a network of regional directorates and forest districts, guided by the Director General.