THE GOOD OF THE WORLD OR THE GOOD OF ELECTED
In Warsaw the 19th Conference of Climatic Convention of Parties (COP19.) and the 9th Meeting of Protocol of Parties (CMP9) are being held. We observe hard economic negotiations. Countries are trying to win as much as possible for themselves. We will see whether our government will represent the interest of the country or servility towards the European Commission
Anxiety about the decay of plants and animals species and state deterioration of water and air was the reason for organizing a Conference of the United Nations in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, about the Environment and Development, called the Summit of the Earth. At the end of the conference the Climatic Convention and Convention of biological diversity were accepted.
A climatic convention
Signing the Climatic Convention by leaders of nearly all countries of the world was a political decision. It was acknowledged that the increase of the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, resulting from burning bituminous, lignite coal, oil or gas, as well as deforestation, cause unbeneficial changes of climate, based on the increase of the average temperature on the globe. Because the cause of the increase of the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere are countries which are highly-developed economically (36 countries, including Poland), and which were to do the reduction of the carbon dioxide emission and this increase of absorption of the gas by forests, so that in the years 2008-12 there would be stabilization of this gas concentration in the atmosphere on the level not causing climatic changes. Since the year 1995 there have been annual meetings of the Climatic Convention parties organized, during which there are discussions about progresses within implementation of the Convention purposes. This year the 19thConference of Climatic Convention Parties is being held in Warsaw. The debates are attended by delegations of particular countries in the rank of presidents, prime ministers or ministers and observers and participants of the accompanying events are banks, business, independent organizations and representatives of various associations. The conference started with appointment of a new president. The new president was Marcin Korolec, the Environment Minister, who becomes the main negotiator for one year. The purpose of the COP19 is settling of commitments of particular countries till the year 2012, which is the basis for elaborating assumptions of the agreement within the climatic policy of the world after the year 2000.
In 1999, thanks to the good functioning of the group in Ministry of the Environment Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, Poland became the main player, and the Polish prime minister became the president of the 5th Conference of Climatic Convention of Parties in Bonn (Germany). It happened without bearing any costs by Poland. Poland was also given money for organizing conferences and workshops concerning a possibility of using forests for absorbing the carbon dioxide. This activity was not used by the government of Jerzy Buzek, who saw the future of forests not in using them for absorbing warm gases and creating workplaces in villages, but in their privatization. From the initiative of the Law and Justice party, in 2008, this time in Poland, the 14th Conference of the Climatic Convention of Parties was organized. Unfortunately, the government of the Civic Platform and the Polish Peasant Party did not use this chance. Instead of joining the first phase of settling commitments, it restricted itself to logistics for which 90 million zlotys were paid from the state budget. A similarly big chance is the year 2013 because it is the first year in which one can evaluate which of the countries has fulfilled their commitments in the years 2008-12.
A protocol from Kioto
The protocol from Kioto is a commitment of highly developed countries in the sphere of emission of greenhouse gas and the increase of absorbing the carbon dioxide, which are to fulfill the target of the Climatic Convention in the years 2008-12. It was implemented in 2005 and ratified by 141 countries of the world, including developed countries, whose emission was over 55 per cent of the complete emission of highly developed countries. Among the countries which made ratification there was Poland. There were also countries which wanted to make the common settlement, all countries of the ‘old fifteen’ of the EU. From the moment of implementing the Protocol from Kioto during other conferences of the parties of the Climatic Convention, there are also meetings of parties of the Protocol from Kioto. According to the Protocol Poland was to make the reduction of greenhouse gas emission in the years 2008-12, in comparison with the year 1988 on the level of 6 per cent. The countries of the ‘old fifteen’ were to make this reduction in the years 2008-12 in comparison with the year 1990 on the level of 8 percent. The countries which did not fulfill their targets of reduction, were to bear financial consequences. Poland turned out to be a country of success. Having to make a reduction on the level of 6 per cent, it had already made it in the year 2008 in the amount of 30 per cent. It was over 100 million tons of the annual surplus of the carbon dioxide emission reduction. The ‘old fifteen’ of the EU did not make any reduction on the obliging level, which resulted in over 200 million shortfall of tones of the annual reduction the carbon dioxide emission. So, everything pointed to the fact that in the years 2008-12 Poland should be given money and the ‘old fifteen’ will have to pay. So, in the interest of Poland there was aiming at settling commitments. It was possible during COP14 organized by Poland in 2008 in Poznań. Because of high activity of the European Commission aiming at cancellation of the Protocol from Kioto and the complete passiveness of t government of the Civic Platform and the Polish Peasant Party, it was not done in Poznań, nor during other conferences.
Climatic and energetic packet
Climatic and energetic packet is an agreement within the European Union, concerning only the reduction of the greenhouse gas emission on the basis of new technologies. This agreement was accepted by EU countries in December 2008. It was implemented in the beginning of the year 2013 and is to be obliging only in the European Union till 2020. It has nothing in common with the obliging targets of the Climatic Convention and the Protocol from Kioto. The basic difference between the climatic and energetic packet and the Climatic Convention is the fact that according to the packet the only way to reduce the concentration of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to reduce the emission where the limits of acceptable emission are defined by the European Commission. This proposal, being a vision of the European Commission in reference to the global energetic policy, met with a strong criticism of other countries of the world.
The climatic and energetic packet may become a method of meeting commitments by the countries of the ‘old fifteen’, in reference to targets of reduction for the years 2013-20. However, it would happen at the cost of Poland and, hence, the climatic and energetic packet, being extremely harmful for Polish economy, must undergo negotiation in the name of the truth and solidarity with respecting provisions of the climatic Convention whose main target is balanced development.
According to a political intention of nearly 200 countries of the world, it was decided to reduce the concentration of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere through lower emission and the increase of its absorption with the economic increase. It is action according to the concept of the balanced development, that is, the economic development connected with the improvement of air quality and protection of biodiversity. For, in the climatic Convention the carbon dioxide is treated as not only harmful gas but also as the basic gas for life. So, it is ‘raw material’, for example, for reconstruction of forests. The bigger contents of the organic carbon in forests, the bigger supply of carbon and the richer biodiversity. In this light the opposition is aroused by the hypocrisy of the European Commission, which, promoting the climatic and energetic packet against the climatic Convention and the Protocol from Kioto, sees the only way to implement targets of reduction in new technologies. Here it is all about not the balanced development. Here it is all about particular interests of the countries of the ‘old fifteen’, which do not have their own energetic supplies, are aiming at making other countries dependent on their technologies. The government should perceive that the Conferences and Meetings of Parties are hard economic negotiations, where particular countries are trying to win as much as possible for themselves. The government should represent the interest of the country, not servility towards the European Commission.
The Organization of COP19 in Warsaw, despite the unfortunate and scandalous date of the beginning (11 November) is a chance for showing Polish achievements in particular economic successes.
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Prof. dr. hab. Jan Szyszko – A minister of Environment Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry in the government of the Electoral Action Solidarity – University of Warsaw. The Minister of Environment in the government of the Law and Justice party. A proxy of the government for the climatic Convention of the United Nation Organization in the years 1999 – 2001. The President of the fifth Conference of Parties of the Climatic Convention in the years 1999-2000.