Poland

located in eastern Europe, Poland has a land area of 120,728 sq. mi. (312,679 sq. km.), with a population of 38,125,500 (2006 est.), and a population density of 320 people per sq. mi. (122 people per sq. km.). Some 47 percent of the country is arable, with a further 13 percent used as pastures and meadows, and 29 percent is forested.

Regarding electricity generation in the country, 98.1 percent comes from fossil fuels, mainly coal that is mined in many parts of the country, with 1.5 percent from hydropower. As a result of this, even though Poland is less industrialized than many other European countries, it has a high per capita rate of carbon dioxide emissions—9.1 metric tons in 1990, falling slowly to 8.0 metric tons per person by 2004. Some 57 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the country come from the production of electricity, with 17 percent from manufacturing and construction, 11 percent from transportation, and 11 percent for residential purposes. The reliance on coal has meant that 76 percent of Poland's carbon dioxide emissions have been from solid fuels, with 15 percent from liquid fuels, and 7 percent from gaseous fuels.

The rising average temperatures in Poland as a result of global warming and climate change have caused hot summers in Lesser Poland, a region in the south of the country. Poland has been actively involved in various schemes to introduce carbon trading, and has even managed to reduce its own emissions rate, although it is hoping to cut back further. As a result, Poland has tried to follow a project that was developed by the Global Environment Facility, by which Mexico and Norway managed to reduce their power use through widespread introduction of compact fluorescent lamps in two major cities. In the case of Poland, this would also involve the conversion of coal-fired boilers to use gas. The main problem with this has been the political power of the coal-mining areas, which has hindered many attempts to reduce the dependence on coal.

The Polish government took part in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992. It signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on July 15, 1998, committing to a 3 percent reduction prior to ratification, which took place on December 13, 2002, with it entering into force on February 16, 2005.

sEE ALsO: Coal; European Union; Global Warming.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Barbara Hicks, Environmental Politics in Poland: A Social Movement between Regime and Opposition (Columbia University Press, 1996); Gordon Hughes and Julia Bucknall, Poland: Complying with E.U. Environmental Legislation (World Bank Publications, 2000); Tim O'Riordan and Jill Jäger, eds., Politics of Climate Change: A European Perspective (Routledge, 1996); "Poland—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007); Farhana Yamin, ed., Climate Change and Carbon Markets: A Handbook of Emissions Reduction Mechanisms Earthscan, 2005).

JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia

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Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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