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TOGETAIR 2021: Day 2: debates about the most urgent environmental issues in Poland

Earth Day at the TOGETAIR 2021 Climate Summit inspired talks and declarations regarding both the future and the current environmental situation of Poland. Day 2 was inaugurated by the Summit organisers.


10 green TOGETAIR objectives defined

The objectives were formulated by the TOGETAIR Expert Committee composed of specialists representing business, environmental protection organisations and state authorities. They define a set of actions to be undertaken by Poland to be ready for the environmental challenges, both in the context of the climate crisis and the policies pursued by the EU. TOGETAIR objectives were presented by the Climate Summit’s Programme Director, Jakub Pawlowski, a journalist and activist.

Polish Climate Report already successful

On the first day of the Summit, the organisers published an unprecedented Climate Report, which 100 thousand viewers in the first 24 hours. This excellent result proves that Poles are very interested in ecology.

Thematic debates – emotions and facts

Then, after the morning’s excitement, the participants could follow debates and thematic panels devoted to Poland’s ecological challenges and concerns.

The topic of the first debate was just transition in the context of the future of the Polish energy and mining sectors. The panellists referred to an excellent example of gradual transition completed in the Adamów lignite mine located in the Turek district, where former fossil fuel workers got retrained for green energy jobs. The construction of wind farms on the Baltic Sea as a possible driving force of the Polish economy was pointed out by Wojciech Dąbrowski, President of the Management Board at PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna.

The next panel concentrated on the fuel of the future – hydrogen. During a discussion about gas as a transitional fuel for the energy transition, the experts looked far into the future, trying to suggest how to prepare the sector for the coming challenges.

Jacek Jaworski representing the Oil and Gas Institute said: The gas industry will have to confront with hydrogen, regardless of its origins. Hopefully, the carbon capture and storage technology will eventually be tamed, allowing for the extraction of so-called blue hydrogen. Poland has potential to be at the forefront at the hydrogen market. By 2030, we will probably be able to use hydrogen on an industrial scale.

Having covered the energy challenges, the experts focused on a common concern for entire society – green transportation. Representatives of the automotive industry were joined on the stage by Tomasz Gontarz from PKP Intercity who spoke about rail as the most ecological means of transport. A passenger trip by train emits three times fewer emissions than a trip of the same distance by car, and eight times fewer than by plane. For freight, emissions are as much as nine times lower compared to TIR.

Next panel tackled the issue of zero-emission energy systems, especially in the context of Offshore investment which stirred experts’ optimism. Pursuant to Zbigniew Gryglas of the Ministry of State Assets: We will generate more gigawatts of wind energy than we announced in PEP 2040 and now we are sure of it. The fifth debate of the day was devoted to the transformation of system heat with regard to geothermal and biomass energy. The Chief National Geologist indicated the need for synergy of activities: Combining several sources of energy – geothermal, biogas, photovoltaics – may produce a far better result than using a single source. We are going to run such projects.

The final panel focused on plastic and the deposit system. The discussion summarized the existing solutions and projects available on the market, indicating trends and possible directions of development. Our guest from Sweden, Anna Larsson, Reloop Platform Director, wished Poland to work towards solutions of the future: Bringing all single-use packaging under the deposit system creates an opportunity to obtain 590,000 tons of raw material for recycling.