Polish Economic ForumWe hope you are spending your last days before Christmas as busily as we are! Last weekend Sandbag was invited by the Polish Economic Forum to Karpacz, on the Polish-Czech border, to speak about low carbon technologies for industrial growth. The agreement in Paris sets a clear direction for the world to usher in zero emissions by the second half of this century. Sandbag hopes to support Polish industry in finding its own way of addressing the challenge.

The place and timing of the conference couldn't have been better. Karpacz, where the representatives of heavy industries were meeting, is in the heart of Lower Silesia – Poland’s biggest industrial hub. Polish industry has recognised that the ambitious Paris agreement is about to bring on challenges far greater than the ones experienced to date. This adds further fuel to the heated debate about the future shape of the Polish economy.

Poland is currently one of the OECD’s most carbon and resource intensive economies, with a high share of fossil fuels in its energy mix, a strong heavy industry sector, and a large (but declining) mining sector. The country won’t be able to repeat its recent success of 30% emissions cuts relative to 1988 levels without strong government support for new technologies that can reduce industrial emissions intensity.

EU emissions under the Emissions Trading Scheme
*Excluding Romania, Bulgaria, Lichtenstein, Norway, Croatia, Iceland to correct for the ETS scope change.

The same goes for all of Europe, which is on the way to achieve 30% emissions cuts in 2020 largely due to reductions in power sector emissions supported by renewables and energy efficiency measures. European emissions outside of the power sector have been largely flat during 2005 – 2014, accounting for 40% of the total in 2014. Industries with high process emissions, such as iron & steel, cement & lime, mineral oil, and chemicals, account for 90% of these emissions. These cannot be reduced at the required scale simply by measures of energy efficiency or change of fuel.

At the conference Sandbag gave a well-received presentation (see below) in which we explained how process-related emissions could be addressed with the use of Carbon Capture Storage & Utilisation (CCSU) technologies, allowing Europe to grow its industrial base. Baroness Worthington gave a speech on why Poland is particularly well suited for investment in this type of innovation, and how Warsaw could add a strong, unique voice to the European climate debate.  

We also shared experiences from the UK, presenting the economic benefits that mineral carbonation, a permanent way of utilising CO2, can bring to industrial producers. We gave out examples of this commercially viable process, in the form of carbon negative sandbags, each of which holds permanently stored CO2.

If you haven’t received your sandbag let us know – although it might be too late for Christmas!


Bryony Worthington at the Polish Economic ForumBryony Worthington, Sandbag’s Founder & Director, commented:

In Paris, the world’s governments were unambiguous in their support for a rapid reduction in emissions and a new green economy. Poland is attracting investment and the economy is growing but there are challenges ahead. Grasping the green agenda now could give Poland a big advantage by making the country home to a new generation of low carbon industrial technologies that play to its strengths.

Aleksandra Mirowicz, Sandbag’s lead on CEE projects, commented: 

The Industry Forum in Karpacz has been a wonderful opportunity to meet people whose voices matter in Polish industry. Industry is looking forward to 2016 expecting it to be a year of great changes. At Sandbag, we are looking forward to the opportunity to work again with the Polish Economic Forum helping to facilitate that change.

View Ola's presentation to the conference here: The role of new technology in promoting European industry (PDF).