9th October 2023
Adoption of a climate act, creation of new national parks, better control over forestry and logging, effective river protection and an accelerated fight against air pollution - these are key demands that ClientEarth shared with leaders of main political parties in Poland ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for October 15.
A vote in a country of 38 million, the 5th largest in the EU by population, could result in a third term in office for the right-wing PiS party. Still, none of the major political forces, including liberal opposition led by Civic Platform, seems set to achieve a majority to govern alone. Not even PiS, even though it continues to lead in the polls with its support at 32-35 per cent.
"I am deeply concerned by how little space in the campaign is devoted to the most important issues that unite all inhabitants of Poland, regardless of their political preferences, such as climate change and a fight against environmental degradation."
Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz, Head of ClientEarth’s Polish office, in a letter to political leaders
The electoral debate has been dominated by issues such as migration, cost of living, security and democratic standards, leaving little space for other matters like climate and environment. And yet there are pressing environmental challenges that the future government will have to address.
ClientEarth has recently published its "Four Elements Manifesto”, where we identify 4 areas around earth, water, air, and fire/climate that require more attention in the public debate in Poland and should be urgently addressed by a new Parliament and the Government. The list includes:
Poland has long been labelled a climate laggard in the EU – it remains the only EU Member State not to commit to reaching climate neutrality by 2050. It is currently near the bottom of international rankings on climate effort and its economy is the most carbon-intense in the EU.
Despite low ambition from current Polish political leaders, there’s broad support for more climate action in Poland – polling figures commissioned by ClientEarth found that almost 70% of Poles support the introduction of stronger legal climate measures. And while the Polish journey towards decarbonisation is only beginning, the country is already amongst European leaders in the field of solar energy installations.
Poland is also home to biodiversity hotspots such as the primeval Bialowieza Forest. In the recent decade ClientEarth – along with other environmental NGO’s - was actively involved in protecting the forest against illegal logging.
“The next Polish parliament and government will have the power - in Poland and in the rest of Europe - to make this crucial decade a success and achieve what we need to ensure a safe climate and healthy environment for Poles. To ensure we can finally be confident the way we live is not harming the planet and benefiting people who live in Poland in sustainable manner.”
Adam Weiss, Director of Programs in Europe at ClientEarth
Alongside policy asks, we also published a video spot, which gives the Earth herself a voice, calling on Polish citizens to consider her interest when casting their votes. In our video we ask people to vote for the Earth.
“We ask our fellow citizens to read party programs and listen to political declarations. Demand forward thinking and long-term planning. Those who will sit in the Parliament and the Government have huge responsibility to protect us and the environment. As our future depends on the health of the Planet, we are calling Poles to vote Earth”.