Cablegate: Scenesetter for Visit of Undersecretary Dobriansky

DE RUEHWR #0457/01 1011446
R 101446Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Welcome to Poland. You are coming to Poland at a time
when the Polish government is eagerly looking forward to
hosting the 14th session of the United Nations Conference on
Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 14). More than
10,000 participants from over 190 countries are expected to
attend the conference, at which Poland hopes to play a role
in forging a new global framework on climate change. At the
same time, Poland is facing painful choices in developing its
own climate change policies.

2. Your visit coincides with the visit of a Presidential
delegation, headed by Secretary Chertoff, to the 65th
anniversary commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
During your time in Warsaw you will see first-hand a country
that values its continuing close ties with the U.S. while it
is rebuilding relationships with neighbors and the EU.

3. PM Donald Tusk is riding a wave of popular support in
Poland. Tusk recently finished his first 100 days in office,
after his party, Civic Platform (PO) trounced the Law and
Justice Party (PiS) in October 2007 snap elections. PO has
brought greater stability to Polish politics after two rocky
years under a fractious coalition led by former PM Jaroslaw
Kaczynski. Tusk has, at best, a tenuous cohabitation with
President Lech Kaczynski, Jaroslaw's identical twin. This is
not only attributable to family politics, but runs deeper to
political fissures in the Solidarity generation of
politicians, and the Polish constitution, which is
purposefully vague in terms of delineation of authority
betweeN Prime Minister and President.

4. In their meeting on March 10, President Bush and PM Tusk
discussed the possibility of placing missile interceptor
sites in norther Poland, as part of our overall Missile
Defense initiative. Negotiations over MD and modernizing
Polish security forces are the top items in our bilateral
agenda. Our economic agenda is changing as the country's
economy soars. Rather than dealing with investment problems,
we are increasingly able to hold strategic discussions on
global issues affecting the U.S. and Poland. As you drive
through Warsaw you will see signs of Poland's booming
economy, which grew 6.5% last year. U.S. companies consider
Poland a good place to do business.

5. You will be meeting with Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski,
who we understand you know well from his time in Washington,
DC. Sikorski served in the previous Law and Justice
government as the Minister of Defense, until a spectacular
falling out with PM Kaczynski. Sikorski's defection to Civic
Platform and his recent appointment as Minister of Foreign
Affairs was splashy evidence of the tensions between
President Lech Kaczynski and PM Tusk's new government.
Sikorski immediately agreed to your meeting when it was
raised personally by Ambassador Ashe, and said he looks
forward to discussing the Community of Democracies project.
That initiative was a joint American-Polish effort that was
launched by then Secretary Albright's visit to Poland in
2000. Sikorski told us that the MFA had identified a Polish
diplomat to lead a new Polish office, and that he approved
funding for the initiative. Under Minister Sikorski and PM
Tusk Poland has continued its leadership in promoting
democracy in Cuba, Belarus, Ukraine, and Georgia, and is
pushing the EU to pay attention to these issues.

6. Maciej Nowicki, the Minister of Environment, is leading
the Polish government's delegation to COP 14 and preparation
for the meeting. An environmental engineer, he has been a
key figure in the Polish environmental movement since the
fall of communism, and is widely respected in Poland. He
recently told us that he believes global programs such as the
Kyoto Protocol are of limited use in combating climate
change. He is more appreciative than many of his European
colleagues of U.S. programs in the climate change area, such
as regulations setting automotive fuel efficiency standards,
and the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs. He also
noted several times that he believes harnessing solar energy
is the ultimate solution to energy and climate change

7. Deputy PM and Minister of Economy Pawlak is
responsibility for economic policy under the government's
coalition agreement. Deputy PM Pawlak is chairman of the
Polish People's Party and previously served as PM twice - in
1992 and from 1993 to 1995. He was also responsible for
energy security issues until PM Tusk recently appointed a
commission, headed by a member of his office, to coordinate

WARSAW 00000457 002 OF 002

GOP efforts to improve its energy security. Energy security
is considered a national security issue in Poland. At
present, Poland is dependent on Russia for oil and gas. To
lessen this dependence, the Polish government is supporting a
number of energy infrastructure programs: an LNG terminal at
Swinoujscie, on the Baltic coast; a gas pipeline from Norway
through Denmark to Poland; membership in a regional
consortium to build a 1,200 MW nuclear power plant in
Ignalina, Lithuania; and underground petroleum reserve
storage in salt caverns.

8. Any analysis of Poland's energy and climate change
policies begins with the fact that the nation is heavily
dependent on coal. Poland's coal deposits are among the
largest in Europe and coal is responsible for over 90% of the
electric power generated in the country. The current
government would like to leverage those resources and ensure
its energy security by investing in new clean coal
technologies. Currently Poland is responsible for emitting a
disproportionate amount of greenhouse gasses. In 2004,
Poland produced only $822 of GDP per metric ton of CO2
emitted -- the second lowest figure for GDP per ton in the
European Union, and less than half the amount of GDP per
metric ton produced in the U.S. Poland achieved dramatic
growth in GDP during the 1990's while greenhouse emissions
fell. However, this was due more to closing inefficient,
highly polluting industrial facilities inherited from the
communist regime than the development of green technologies.

9. Poland's dependence on greenhouse gas-intensive energy is
causing problems in complying with the European Union's
Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). In March 2007, the European
Commission allocated Poland only 208.5 million tons of CO2
emissions for the years 2008-2012, nearly 27% less than
Poland requested. The Polish government appealed the
allocation to the European Court of Justice, and a verdict is
pending. The 27% cut in CO2 emissions will have a strong
negative impact on Polish industries, especially energy
production, cement plants, and steel mills. Moreover, ETS
mandates require Polish industries to purchase 100% of their
emission permits beginning in 2013. Minister Nowicki
believes that this will cost Poland 5 billion euros per year,
raising energy prices by 50% to 70%.

10. Poland is also struggling to develop renewable energy
sources. As you know, in March 2007, the EU set mandates for
renewable energy use in each member state. Under these
mandates, renewable energy sources are to account for 15% of
Poland's energy consumption by 2020, up from 7.2% in 2005.
Progress toward meeting the mandates has been slow in Poland.
The Ministry of Economy prepared a long-term program for
promoting renewable fuels that was adopted by the Kaczynski
government in July 2007. The plan calls for excise tax
exemptions and corporate income tax reduction for use of
renewable fuels, investment support for growing energy crops
designated for biofuel production, creating zones accessible
only to ecological public transport, and preference in public
tenders for biofuel powered vehicles. So far, the program
does not appear to have produced measurable results.

11. The U.S. government has been engaged in promoting green
technologies in Poland. The Environmental Protection Agency
is currently working with the Polish government under the
Methane to Markets partnership to exploit coal mine and
landfill methane for energy production. A wind farm, built
in part with funding from the U.S. Trade and Development
Agency, is scheduled to open later this year at Slupsk on the
Baltic coast. The previous government was interested in
joining DOE's FutureGen project, and Deputy PM Pawlak has
repeatedly stated publicly that Poland needs to implement
clean coal technologies.

12. One issue that is inevitably raised in any discussion
with Polish government officials is visas. The Tusk
government has somewhat downplayed the issue, but the subject
was back in the news last month when Canada announced that it
is dropping its visa requirements for Polish citizens and we
announced we were moving forward on the process to add some
of Poland's neighbors to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Government officials are aware that the visa waiver
legislation is Congressionally mandated but will take the
opportunity of your visit to press their case. Poles deeply
resent the current visa law.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC