Poland Ratification Status

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Possibility of Ratification by 2018: Low

To date, Poland has not ratified the Paris Agreement.

In 1989, Communism collapsed in Poland and the country shifted to democracy. This democratic nation now has a President, a Prime Minister, and a Parliament. The Constitution, established in 1997, assigns power to separate parts of the government so they can balance each other. Executive power is assigned to the President, or the Head of State, and the Council of Ministers. Judicial power lies in the courts and tribunals. Legislative power is given to the Parliament, headed by the Prime Minister. This part consists of the upper house, called the Senate or Senat (with 260 Deputies), and a lower house, called the Sejm (with 100 Senators). Both parts contain Deputies or Senators who serve for 4 years.

Democratic elections are held, and the D’Hondt method is used, where seats in either part of the Parliament are allocated to political parties based on the proportion of votes they received. The top 5 political parties with control of the Parliament currently are the Law and Justice Party (Pis), Civic Platform (PO) Kukiz’15 (K’15), Modern (.M), and the Polish People’s Party (PSL). The majority of these parties, as and such the majority of the Parliament, have right-wing nationalistic and Eurosceptic leanings, which isn’t a good playing field for the Paris Agreement. The majority are very protective of Poland’s coal industry, and the vast number of voters they employ, as well as very focused on strengthening the Polish economy. Politicians are reluctant to agree to a treaty that would limit an industry their economy is based on, and make Poland less competitive in the global market.

Late last year, Poland had a democratic election that resulted in the conservative Eurosceptic PiS winning both the majority vote and the majority of Parliament, starting the first time a single party held a majority party since the fall of Communism. PiS currently has 235 of the 460 seats in Sejm, and 61 of the 100 seats in Senate.

This victory marked a strong shift to the right, and set Poland down a nationalistic and authoritarian path. After their recent election, the party implemented stricter laws and more controls on civil service, courts, and media. So strict, in fact, that the EU threatened them with sanctions for going against the Council of Europe’s Standards.

One of these changes to the courts involves rearranging certain procedures so that a 2/3 majority is required, contrasting the previous 1/3 majority previously needed.

Also after the election, President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydło, both of the PiS, were put into their respective offices.

In April 2016, Polish Prime Minister Szydło signed the Paris Agreement after the COP 21 United Nations Climate Change Conference that took place in Paris in December 2015. As an international agreement, it is up to the Polish President Duda to approve the agreement and Poland’s part in it, and ratify it. Alternatively, if the President vetoes the agreement, the Parliament can override his veto through the new three fifth majority (which would be highly unlikely, considering their political leanings). Unfortunately, however, there haven’t even been talks to start the ratification process.

Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Kathleen Gorman

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