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Abstract

It is contended that, in essence, climate policy is sustainable development policy, given that it postulates the use of renewable resources, and an increase in the effectiveness of use of non-renewable ones. Furthermore, it serves the security of future generations more than present ones; for while unfavourable impacts of climate change are already making their presence felt, truly negative consequences of considerable signifi cance are likely to be more of a matter for the second half of the present century. This is why, in analysing the evolution of the approach to climate policy through the late 20th century and into the 21st, it is also possible to appraise changes in the approach to the sustainable-development concept. This article has therefore sought to offer the author’s analysis of how the approach to sustainable development has evolved, by reference to Poland’s climate policy from 1988 through to 2016. As this is done, an attempt is also made to identify the conditioning that has decided upon and will go on determining the shape of national policy in this domain. Climate policy in Poland has been developing since the early 1990s. At the outset, it was not a source of controversy, with the consequence that the country rather rapidly signed up to and then ratifi ed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. However, as early as in the late 1990s, reservations began to be expressed, to the effect that actions to protect the climate might pose a threat to Poland’s economy. A key turning point as regards the approach came with the growing dispute over the EU 2020 Climate and Energy Package. It was also at this time that a thesis began to take shape, holding that the goals of climate policy where at best unfavourable and at worst dangerous for Poland. This approach in fact held sway in successive years, leaving this country’s cooperation with the EU over this matter severely hindered. The main reason for this change of approach to climate policy can be considered to lie in the politicisation thereof, and hence the increasing dominance of the short-term interests of the Polish political elite over either the public interest or the security of future generations.
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