Poland holds a unique position in Europe. It’s a member of the now chaotic European Union (EU), yet it finds itself in the good graces of the United States and with awesome economic growth potential because the decimation experienced in its past as a member of the Soviet Union. The West’s appeasement of the Soviet Union left many nations at the mercy of collectivist, tyrannical, socialist communism. Probably none more so than the Polish, especially after it’s tribulations before and after the blitzkrieg invasion in 1939.
At the core of Poland’s economic potential, much like every other country, is its ability to harvest resources and to then convert it into energy cheaply and securely. Granted, Poland generally misses the mark on the third type of energy production and consumption – cleanliness. However, every country possesses its own unique set of competitive advantages; Poland’s just happens to be a desire to prosper and to act as a military ally for the world’s hegemon and coal. All things that are rather despised when rendered on an individual basis as the EU is a collectivist union – never mind that Germany burns as much coal, Greece gets special bailouts, Britain can just leave and France keeps finding money to help keep the ship afloat.
Brussels and Germany are regularly inclined to preach a sermon of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Poland understands the risks, consequences and benefits of operating the way it does. Would it prefer to utilize cleaner fuels? Absolutely. Who wouldn’t? However, the Polish people have an opportunity to prosper with their current resources and increasing the efficiency of their plants would lower total emissions.
Poland, its coal industry, and citizenry would all benefit from High Efficiency-Low Emissions coal technology, and we can extend that to Combine Cycle Heat and Electricity where applicable. These technologies would not eliminate coal consumption, but members of the climate orthodoxy also fail at coal elimination to a great extent (i.e. Germany exports its coal and subsequently imports the electricity said coal generates). So, cleanliness might not be achievable, but sustainable is. With the right technology a country can prosper from leveraging its competitive advantages and still attain secondary goals.
As recently as 2019 the Polish and Japanese agreed to cooperate on the development of clean coal technologies such as coal gasification, specifically an integrated gasification combined cycle to be built by Enea Group and operating in 2024. Clearly, Poland is not looking to make a concerted shift away from coal. Given its contentious relationship with the EU, who could blame them? They’re looking out for what is in the best interest of the Polish people and they should continue to do so. Many forget the history of the Polish during and after World War Two and the lasting effects those events took on Polish society. Albeit, those atrocities the Polish people experienced were not unique to them, but the magnitude of suffering has few rivals considering their long-term membership in the Soviet Union.
Just as the Polish are finding their footing and catching up to the rest of the developed world, why would they now begin to serve a new foreign master? Poland understands well the consequences of collectivist governments and centrally planned economies. Instead relying on the EU, Poland needs to turn toward strategic partnerships and self-betterment.
The United Nations Economic Council on Europe (UNECE) is one of the few European focused proponents of utilizing national assets and resources to their maximum value. The council has spent many years investigating and lobbying for cleaner fossil fuels technology because they understand the capital stock Europe has in invested in transportation, manufacturing and energy production cannot be easily or quickly converted. Adjoining the UNECE, the United States should also move to bolster Poland’s economic engine. We possess the technology to aid Poland’s development and consumption needs with a blend of cheap, secure, and clean technology. With the right partners and Poland’s continuing assertion of national sovereignty perhaps we could see the large-scale positive effects of national reinvestment and advancement of new fossil fuel technologies.