Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Polish Climate Policy Narratives: Uniqueness, Alternative Pathways, and Nascent Polarisation

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Abstract:  European Union (EU) climate politics have polarised over the past decade. Poland especially stands out as the EU member state that has most vehemently opposed numerous decisions to increase the EU’s level of ambition, stirring some turbulence in EU climate politics. Yet, with the publication of the European Green Deal (EGD) in 2019, the European Commission has likewise created turbulence in the Polish parliament’s climate debate. This article analyses those debates and identifies three distinct policy narratives: Poland is in a unique situation, Poland pursues an alternative pathway, and climate policy endangers competitiveness. The alternative pathway narrative, which advocates for the continued use of coal while capturing emissions, faded at roughly the same time when the EGD was proposed at the EU level. Simultaneously, the unique situation narrative, which calls for recognition of Poland’s uniqueness in combination with increased (financial) support, became stronger. The analysis confirms the dominance of the governing party’s narratives, but contrary to previous studies, detects nascent polarisation on climate policy between the right-wing political parties, on the one hand, and the centre-right and centre-left parties, on the other.

Keywords:  climate policy; European Green Deal; Poland; polarisation; policy narratives; Sejm


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© Katja Biedenkopf. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.