Europe and Global Climate Change
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Europe and Global Climate Change

Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation

Edited by Paul G. Harris

The core objective of this book is to better understand the role of foreign policy – the crossovers and interactions between domestic and international politics and policies – in efforts to preserve the environment and natural resources. Underlying this objective is the belief that it is not enough to analyze domestic or international political actors, institutions and processes by themselves. We need to understand the interactions among them, something that explicit thought about foreign policy can help us do.
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Chapter 5: Climatic Issues in Polish Foreign Policy

Anita Bokwa


Anita Bokwa INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the environmental foreign policy (EFP) of Poland, a former communist state that became a member of the European Union (EU) on May 1, 2004.1 In order to understand present Polish foreign policy on global climate change (GCC) it is necessary to recall the development of its environmental policy after the Second World War and to explore factors contributing to its present shape. Poland’s evolution from a socialistic to a democratic system caused huge changes in the main actors and ideas that have been decisive for its GCC policy. A weak national economy and a stilldeveloping public awareness of environmental issues are factors inherited from the pre-1989 period that strongly influence the present situation. In this chapter, the historical, political and economic causes of environmental degradation in Poland are first presented. They serve as a background to the country’s environmental policies from 1945 to 1989. Next, more recent developments are discussed, including domestic climate policy, the main actors involved in shaping it, new geopolitical conditions and the resulting Polish foreign policy concerning GCC. Poland’s policies on climate change are examined with reference to the theoretical typology described by Barkdull and Harris (2002), which juxtaposes systemic, societal and state-centric theories of EFP with considerations of power, interests and ideas (see Chapter 1). POLISH ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, 1945–89 After the Second World War, Poland was incorporated into a group of states whose foreign and domestic policies were dominated by the Soviet Union (USSR). Industrialization became the...

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