TCS Daily

Poland's Day After the Day After Tomorrow

By Tomasz Teluk - April 13, 2005 12:00 AM

WARSAW -- The European Union works very hard at exporting its impotence. Its bureaucrats have created the greatest central plan in human history: the post-Kyoto strategy. They want to decrease carbon-dioxide emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

The Kyoto Protocol is the latest perpetum mobile of socialists. To save the Earth from self-destruction ecologists and politicians have decided to force a wedge between the gears of civilization. Instead of fostering the development of new, energy-saving technologies, they suggest central planning in the global economy and the diminution of industrial production.

In mid-February this year, the Kyoto Protocol (in which signatories committed themselves to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere) came into force. Under its provisions, countries that emit quantities of gases under their prescribed limits may trade their allowances on the market.

Why has Poland gone along with Kyoto? First blame European officials, who made the signing of this document by Warsaw one of the many conditions for EU accession. For Poland's part the propagandist work was performed by ex-Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek's government, which was surely conscious of limitations it would place on our country.

More economic damage inflicted by Brussels under the pretext of ecological policy came when the "Intelligent Energy -- Europe" program was accepted by the European Parliament and European Council in 2003. This program, one of the many produced by Euro-deputies, is the central plan for the internal limitation of gas emissions. Just like the Lisbon Strategy, this plan will likely fizzle out too, because the central planning of industrial production is untenable, as we learned the hard way in the Polish People's Republic.

When it appeared last week that Brussels would not give Polish firms as much carbon dioxide emission limits as their economy needed, Warsaw realized that accession to the agreement had been an unforgivable mistake. The European Commission imposed on Poland the possibility of emitting just 286 million tons of CO2 a year -- 47 million tons less than Polish industry needs.

The EC decision most likely will have negative influence on the economic growth rate in Poland, because dynamically growing economies use more and more electricity produced mainly by coal combustion. Production in Poland will become more and more expensive, because complying with the new limits will entail horrible costs. This is how French or German politics harm the competitiveness of Polish businessmen.

Eurocrats have assumed an even more strident obligation to limit emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. In the meantime, according to the National Programme of Authorizations' Distribution, native industry will need more and more energy and emissions of CO2 will increase. In the sugar factories, cement plants, glass-works, and chemical plants the increase in emissions will amount to 27-39 percent.

Revolutionary -- it is the only way to describe the EU's new intention to decrease emissions by four-fifths. To adapt the economy to the boldest central plan since Soviet communism crashed would require scrapping industrial investments and closing down production on a mass scale. Surely officials are aware of how this idea would end.

The author is a Fellow of Adam Smith Center in Warsaw and Visiting Fellow at the Center for the New Europe in Brussels.



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