Attempts at counteracting climate change are an important element of the international discussion about life on earth for present and future generations.
The complexity of the topic necessitates the involvement of all parties to this dialogue – at the level of central authorities, international and local government organizations and representatives of the business community. According to scientists, the average surface temperature of the Earth has already increased by more than 1°C above the value from the pre-industrial era. In 2015, in the Paris Agreement, the signatory countries agreed on a target to curb the increase in the average surface temperature of the Earth below 2°C above the pre-industrial levels. It is forecasted that if current trends continue, a growth level of 1.5°C will be reached as early as by 2030. This scenario will cause an irreversible climate change, which will directly affect the economy, society and the environment. Global warming will increase the quantity, frequency and intensity of extreme weather phenomena, such as heat waves, drought, floods and powerful hurricanes.
We are currently considering and reviewing two scenarios for climate and environmental assumptions:
scenario assuming global warming at 2°C maximum,
scenario assuming global warming by more than 2°C.
global warming at 2°C maximum
global warming by more than 2°C.
We assume that for both scenarios similar developments will be taking place, but at different speeds and intensities. Based on the scenario assuming global warming at a maximum level of 2°C, changes in the external environment will be rather evolutionary, as a result of the growing awareness of the society and businesses and the increasing availability of new technologies. If the evolutionary actions to be taken fail to stop the temperature rise and the forecasts clearly indicate that there is a high probability of exceeding the average temperature increase by more than 2°C above the value from the pre-industrial era, then changes in the external environment, in particular with respect to the regulations, organization of the power system and the power generation model as well as the society and customer behaviors will be very deep and rapid. The technological solutions for energy storage that are uneconomic today, in case of a significant increase in energy generation costs and environmental restrictions introduced by new regulations, may become economically viable.
Climate change will entail modifications in the attitudes and behaviors of society and customers, regulatory changes affecting energy systems and amendments to energy generation models.
More intense and extreme weather phenomena coupled with restrictions on access to water are already causing greater climate awareness among the ever growing portion of society. Care for the natural environment (caused by smog, waste, biodiversity protection, etc.) will result in growing pressure by society and various organizations to implement policies aimed at limiting human impact on climate, including by eliminating the use of fossil fuels for energy generation.
Social pressure and EU regulations will cause Poland to introduce increasingly more stringent environmental standards for conventional energy generation units and an increase in renewable energy sources in the country’s production mixes. The increasing number of intermittent renewable energy sources as well as the growing number of prosumer installations will affect the power system from the technological and commercial perspectives. Improvements in energy efficiency among customers and growing generation volumes from prosumer installations will cause a drop in demand for electricity generated from utility scale sources.
Climate concerns are global in nature, while environmental issues are focused predominantly on specific geographic areas. As regards the environment, the main activities will be focused on reducing air pollution level by gas and dust emissions, reducing the level of soil pollution, limiting the effects caused by sewage, biogenic waste, municipal waste and fuels in waters.
The measures to be implemented with a view to reducing the adverse impact of industrial activity on the natural environment will include: increasing the significance of the circular economy and minimizing waste generation, improving energy efficiency and thus reducing unit energy consumption, respecting natural resources through their reasonable use, increasing the role of renewable sources in energy consumption.