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Cablegate: Scenesetter for the Un Conference On Climate Change

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHHM RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
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DE RUEHWR #1394/01 3440705
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090705Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7469
INFO RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 001394

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

OES FOR U/S DOBRIANSKY, TERESA HOBGOOD
EUR/CE FOR DAVID MORRIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EINV PGOV PREL ETRD KIPR PL
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE UN CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE

REF: WARSAW 1271

1. (SBU) Summary. Poland's government recognizes that the
on-going Fourteenth United Nations Conference on Climate
Change in Poznan (due to enter its High Level segment later
this week) is largely a waypoint on the road to next year's
Fifteenth UN Conference in Copenhagen. It nonetheless views
Poznan as an opportunity to showcase Poland on a global stage
while drawing business and technology more closely into the
UN Climate Change process. Even as it stages the conference,
the GoP is struggling within the European Union to reduce the
cost the EU's own climate change package could impose on
Poland's heavily coal-dependent power sector. That endgame
may well play itself out over the final days in Poznan.

2. (SBU) The Poznan Conference comes on the heels of several
high-profile bilateral successes: the August signing of the
Missile Defense Agreement; the successful conclusion of a
five-year Polish deployment in Iraq; and the simultaneous
strengthening of support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
These achievements reflect the changing nature of our
relationship with Poland, which increasingly has become a
proactive, collaborative partner on regional and global
issues. End Summary.

---------------------------------------
Poland on Climate Change/Emissions Caps
---------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Poland's views on climate change are not deeply held
nor broadly developed. Interest in climate change is
measurably lower than almost anywhere else in the EU, a fact
reflected in polling numbers and the limited media attention
given to related events. Poles in general don't feel deeply
responsible for this global problem, nor do they feel that
they will have a particularly important role in solving it.
The GoP's policy response is driven by an expectation that
mandatory reductions of CO2 emissions would have a crippling
cost for Poland's coal-based power sector and would make
Poland even more dependent on gas and oil imports from a
single source - Russia. Climate change policy is thus
tightly tied to national security policy.

4. (SBU) On the global stage, Poland has reached out as far
as China in search of potential partners among countries
concerned about the impact of emissions reductions on
domestic coal industries and prospects for economic
development. As hosts of the Poznan Conference, Poland has
sought a higher profile for industry representation in the
discussions and has advocated, with seemingly limited
success, for a sectoral approach to emissions targets which
they feel would be beneficial to their carbon-intensive
industries. The bulk of Poland's recent robust efforts on
climate diplomacy have centered around blocking a deal on the
European Climate Package, which would impose particularly
stringent and costly caps on coal-based power generators.
Poland has drawn attention to itself (both positive and
negative) by pulling together a blocking minority in Brussels
to stall the package in an effort to force their interests
onto the table.

--------------------------------------------
The Bilateral Relationship: A Global Partner
--------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Poland increasingly sees itself as a regional and
global player. Poland's commitment and active engagement in
Iraq began in the first days of Operation Iraqi Freedom and
continued with distinction until its last troops returned on
October 28. Poles were among the first members of the
coalition to commit troops to Iraq. Their deployment lasted
five years and as they withdrew from Iraq, the Poles plussed
up their mission in Afghanistan. They currently have about
1600 troops in Afghanistan and are working to increase
political and economic engagement. We appreciate their
support and recognize the losses they suffered during the
Iraq mission - twenty-two Polish soldiers died and seventy
were wounded over the course of their deployment.

6. (SBU) The country has also tried to take the lead in
shaping major EU policies like emissions control, energy
security and Eastern Policy, particularly relations with

WARSAW 00001394 002 OF 002


Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Caucasus region. Poland
has transitioned from an aid recipient to an assistance
provider targeting countries of strategic interest such as
Afghanistan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Together
with the US, Poland was a strong voice in support of Georgia
during the August crisis. During the recent financial
crisis, Poland pledged $200 million to support the IMF
bailout of Iceland - a dramatic turnaround.

7. (SBU) Secretary Rice traveled to Warsaw in August to sign
an agreement to station ten missile interceptors on Polish
territory in Redzikowo, near the northwest city of Slupsk
(pronounced Swoopsk). The signing marked the conclusion of
18 months of tough but cordial negotiations. The
interceptors have no warheads as they are designed to destroy
ICBMs through kinetic energy, and pose no offensive threat.
We are currently negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement and
the necessary Implementing Agreements that would allow us to
begin actual deployment by 2012, subject to a planned review
by the incoming U.S. administration. Public support for the
system ticked up in August, when the popular Tusk government
communicated that it had driven a hard bargain and struck a
good deal with the U.S. The disproportionate use of Russian
force in Georgia also served to convince Polish public
opinion of the benefits of an enhanced security relationship
with the U.S. at a time when Russia is flexing its muscles.

8. (U) Poland is not a major U.S. trading partner, but
American companies are an important source of investment -
over $15 billion since the fall of communism in 1989.
Household names like GM, Dell, and Whirlpool make goods and
services here - for the domestic market and for export
elsewhere in the EU - and are broadly very positive about
their experience. Poland's economy continues to perform well
despite the current global economic storm. Recent years'
strong GDP growth between 6-7 percent has cooled to 4.8
percent in the third quarter, with low unemployment (6.4
percent) and moderate inflation (4.3 percent). Poland's
financial system has felt only ripples of the crisis
consuming financial markets elsewhere, though economists
expect growth to continue slowing together with weakness
among Poland's trade and investment partners.

--------
The Mood
--------

9. (SBU) There is great interest in the U.S. transition along
with some uncertainty about what it might mean for missile
defense - which for Poles is more about US engagement than
about global concerns. Besides these prominent issues, there
are persistent frictions surrounding U.S. visa policy and the
Visa Waiver Program. We regularly hear the message that
Poland is a loyal strategic partner, who committed and
engaged early in Iraq; in Afghanistan the Poles have fought
with no restrictive caveats like other ISAF partners. In the
same breath, Poles will voice their disappointment that its
citizens still require visas to visit the U.S. (Poland's
failure to qualify for the Visa Waiver Program this year was
particularly painful, since neighbors such as the Czech
Republic started traveling visa-free on November 21.) The
undercurrent is: "We've done all these things for the benefit
of the U.S. - Iraq, Afghanistan, buying F-16s and now
agreeing to missile defense...but what have you done for us?"
Despite these frictions, we are still seen as their
strongest single ally.

10. (SBU) You are visiting a dynamic Poland that has
undergone dramatic changes since its return to full
independence in 1989. Poland is increasingly confident in
the EU as well as on the regional and global stage. Despite
crosswinds from the financial crisis, it is an economy that
has flourished by rapidly adopting free-market economic
principles and fostering democratic values. Our partnership
has rapidly transformed from one of bilateral assistance and
cooperation to one based on broadly shared values and mutual
interest in multilateral fora. While the Poles increasingly
see themselves as an EU member and a regional leader, they
continue to value their relationship with the U.S.
ASHE

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