This report presents the main economic facts on the role of coal in the Polish economy, and analyses the implications of the transition away from coal for coal consumption and coal mining employment in Poland. Poland’s energy mix relies on coal, most of which is domestically produced. We argue that issues related to job creation and the cushioning of negative shocks for workers are key for the phasing out of coal in Poland, especially at the regional and local levels. Our simulations show that achieving the Paris Agreement target is feasible in Poland provided hard coal consumption is cut by 20% between 2015 and 2030, and by 55% between 2015 and 2050. We estimate that this reduction in coal consumption would translate into a decline in mining employment of 47% between 2015 and 2030, and of 77% between 2015 and 2050. On the labour supply side, the reduction in employment can be achieved through natural attrition; i.e., through an outflow of workers to retirement and a moderate inflow of new workers. Training programmes, vocational courses, in-work benefits, and social policy instruments should be used to ease the transition.
The research leading to this paper was performed under the Coal Transition project that received funding from the KR foundation. The report extends the findings presented in the earlier report within the Coal Transition project (Baran et al. 2018, published by IDDRI and Climate Strategies) by adding a more detailed analysis of the labour market. This paper uses Statistics Poland data. Statistics Poland is not liable for the results and conclusions presented in the publication. We would like to thank Oliver Sartor and Jan Rutkowski for their valuable comments and suggestions as well as Agata Miazga for indispensable editorial support. The usual disclaimers apply. All errors are ours.
Institute for Structural Research (IBS); Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw