Europe and Central Asia Knowledge Brief

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This is a regular series of notes highlighting recent analyses, good practices, and lessons learned from the development work program of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region.

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  • Publication
    Transition to a Low-Emissions Economy in Poland
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-08) Jorgensen, Erika; Kąsek, Leszek
    Poland is not among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases globally, but its economy is among the least emissions-efficient in the European Union (EU). Poland's global share in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is just 1percent and its per capita emissions are similar to the EU overall. Its lower income level, the Polish economy comes out as among the least carbon-efficient. Poland's transition to a market economy since 1989 had a co-benefit of sharply reduced CO2 emissions; however, the link between growth and emissions has re-emerged in recent years. A critical difference in the make-up of Poland's emissions is the dominance of the power sector and its extraordinary dependence on coal. Over 90 percent of electricity in Poland is generated from coal and lignite, the highest share in the EU. This makes Poland an outlier, both globally and in Europe.
  • Publication
    Lights Out? The Outlook for Energy in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
    (Washington, DC, 2010-05) World Bank
    It is very likely that an energy crunch could hit several countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) in the next five or six years. Before the financial crisis of 2008, several electricity importing countries in the region had begun to experience difficulties with supply; however, the crisis has reduced demand and created some breathing room. It has also created a window of opportunity to take action to mitigate the impact of the anticipated energy crunch. But countries need to act now. Mitigating actions are required on both the supply side and the demand side and will require significant investments (about $3.3 trillion in 2008 dollars over the next 20 years, or about 3% of cumulative gross domestic product) if the region wants to meet all its anticipated energy needs. This level of investment cannot be provided by the public sector alone and measures will be required to create a climate that appeals to private sector investors. In conclusion, the region faces a potential energy crunch. The financial crisis has provided some breathing room to address the potential energy constraints, but countries need to act quickly to take advantage of this window of opportunity by promoting an attractive climate for investment. At the same time they need to ensure that the energy strategies they pursue are perceived as being responsive to environmental concerns.