Poland is one of the EU?s largest greenhouse gas emitters because of its reliance on coal power. Indeed, more than 90% of the country?s electricity is produced from coal. A number of factors ? including its dependence on coal, its fear of dependence on gas from Russia, and a low level of public awareness about the threat of climate change ? have left Poland lagging behind other countries in progress on climate protection. Nevertheless, the country has a very large capacity to reduce its emissions and to remove CO2 through the use of carbon sinks. Energy saving measures will reduce the impact on climate while allowing the country to maintain a high growth rate. Poland also has significant renewable energy potential; as such energy sources can meet 47% of total energy requirements. In preparation for expected major climatic changes, more active efforts are required by local authorities and by the public to protect the climate and to adapt to changes.
While the most important decisions regarding climate protection and adaptation to climate change are made mainly at the global level, local actions are key to success. The main goal of the project was to raise awareness of climate change among leaders at county level in Poland and to stimulate local policies focused on climate issues in all counties.
Specifically, the project aimed to:
In order to ensure the effectiveness of the DOKLIP project activities, cooperation from the project partners was essential: The partners? substantial experience in delivering climate protection projects and their expertise in mobilising local communities and organising training workshops were crucial assets.
The project played a pioneering role in Poland in presenting climate issues to the public authorities (county) and to local people. Overall, 115 counties (out of a total 314) participated in the project in one way or another. The project?s principal achievements included encouraging counties in Poland to introduce climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. At a general level it helped raise awareness of climate change among county leaders and locals and helped stimulate local policies focused on climate issues. At a practical level, it has provided the necessary tools to facilitate the implementation of local climate policy (i.e. reports on carbon footprint calculations, or the demonstrated ?low carbon development programme? (LCDP) ? implemented in Starogard County. The LCDP has already been adopted as a model for the drafting of municipal ?low carbon economy plans?. These plans are local instruments of the EU?s Climate and energy package 2020 ? and a prerequisite for obtaining EU development funds. Three counties (out of five involved in carbon footprint assessments) also reduced their CO2 emissions over the course of the project (the city of P?ock, Starogard and the city of Jaworzno). The project?s goals are especially relevant to EU climate and energy policy (i.e. the EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction commitments). Moreover the project emphasised the need to increase energy efficiency, to increase the use of energy from renewable sources, and at the same time to control energy consumption. The actions carried out are in line with the following directives: Directive (2009/28/EC) on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources; Directive (2012/27/EU) on energy efficiency; and the Directive (2010/31/EU) on the energy performance of buildings.
One of the main successes was the organisation of a series of 90 debates on climate change in a total of 93 counties. The aim was to discuss causes and consequences of climate change and to propose recommendations for local programmes of low carbon development. Nearly 1 900 people participated (more than the foreseen number of 1400), mostly representatives of local administration. The conclusions of these debates were summarised at 16 regional climate conferences, which were held in each administrative region of Poland (610 participants took part).
Two nationwide conferences were also organised for county authorities and state administrations, at the beginning and at the end of the project (altogether 178 people participated in both conferences). The second (aimed at presenting the project?s achievements and sharing experiences gained among counties) was co-organised with the high-level Committee for the Environmental Protection of the Senate.
Two key activities highlight the project?s more practical approach to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The first was the carbon footprint calculations conducted for five selected counties (covering years: 2005, 2010 and 2013). The five reports produced in the process describe the main emission sources and provide recommendations on ways of reducing emissions. A separate report describes methodology of calculating greenhouse emissions in such sectors as industry, energy, construction, transport, household waste management, wastewater treatment and agriculture. These reports serve as a useful tool for designing climate change policies. They have been distributed to all counties across Poland.
The second principal activity was to draw up a pioneer, low carbon development programme (LCDP) for a selected county (Starogard). This was a successful participatory process, bringing together county authorities, local experts and citizens. It identified the main sources of GHGs and proposed actions for cutting emissions and to better adaptation to climate change. As a demonstration programme, it is now widely distributed to encourage other Polish counties and cities to take up similar actions. The project actions were supported by more than 100 trained local operators, ?Local Civil Society Initiators? (LCSIs) and by 12 ?Climate Debate Facilitators? (CDFs). The project helped them to increase their knowledge and experience on climate mitigation and adaptation, and also, through supporting their personal interests and local activity, has contributed to strengthening Polish civil society. Some of these local operators remain in contact after-LIFE, and are continuing their collaboration through participation in other projects.
A study visit was organised to Cornwall, which was declared the first low-carbon development region in the UK in 2009. Twenty representatives of public administration from the most active counties and municipalities, one LCSI and one CDF participated in the visit. They learned about Cornwall?s practical solutions and experiences in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Overall, 19 publications were produced, with a combined circulation of 30 000. An important publication is the ?County Climate Guide?, which examines the various aspects of climate change, outlining what can be done about it at a local level and how mitigation measures can contribute to local development and job creation. Another important deliverable was the 32-min project video, available on DVD and through YouTube. Entitled, "A week with a good climate", it explores everyday problems associated with of GHG emissions and provides examples of local mitigation actions.The project?s main dissemination tool was the website. An important Polish information portal focusing on climate change issues, this serves as a comprehensive source of information on the project itself, and on various climate issues, climate and energy policy. The project also received substantial media coverage, with over 500 press releases and articles published over the project lifetime in the national, regional and local media.
Finally, 21 counties signed the DOKLIP declaration, ?Good Climate for Counties? i.e. they have agreed to reduce their GHG emissions and to take climate issues into account in their decision-making (5-10 counties were expected to sign the declaration). The findings of the local debates have also been incorporated into strategic policy documents in 19 counties (the expected number was at least 10 counties). In addition, the project supported the work of the ?Climate Coalition? (NGOs engaged in climate protection activity).
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).