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Warsaw to become climate-neutral by 2050. Will the city change?

Warsaw to become climate-neutral by 2050. Will the city change?

Image source: © canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
13.02.2024 13:00

The Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, has established a Climate Team. Will it ensure sustainable development investments?

The mayor and councillors of Warsaw have announced their commitment to achieving climate neutrality by the year 2050. This means the city will work towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions to a level the environment can absorb. One effective way of removing CO2 from the atmosphere is through the absorption of plants. Cities that aim to achieve climate neutrality must, therefore, limit the burning of fossil fuels, especially in transport and heating, increase the use of renewable energy sources, and plant more trees.

Rafał Trzaskowski set up a Climate Team in Warsaw

The team established by Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski is responsible for managing the city's efforts to achieve its climate goals. The goal of making Warsaw climate-neutral by 2050 is not a new concept. It is stated in the resolution called the "Green Vision for Warsaw" (Polish: "Zielona wizja Warszawy"), which was approved at City Hall on April 20, 2023. This 350-page document emphasises five key areas: energy infrastructure, buildings, urban planning, transportation, and municipal waste.

A lot of work needs to be done in Warsaw to improve the environment. "The Green Vision for Warsaw" plan includes various actions such as using renewable energy, modernising city lighting, buying hydrogen buses, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, replacing high-emission cookers, enhancing rail transportation, and planting more trees.

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The Climate Team was launched to prevent environmentally harmful decisions at Warsaw City Hall despite the city's pro-environmental declarations. The city must reduce car usage and promote emission-free public transport and cycling to achieve climate-neutral transportation. Paris is an excellent example of a city that has successfully reduced traffic congestion and created more space for pedestrians and cyclists through bold decisions made by its authorities over the last three years.

Is Warsaw moving towards climate neutrality?

In Warsaw, investments are being made that disregard sustainable transport objectives. As architekturaibiznes.pl wrote, these investments do not consider changes that could reduce traffic and exhaust emissions. For instance, the renovation of Puławska Street, which was completed in 2023, did not include pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Instead, it provided an "urban motorway" with three lanes of car traffic in each direction. This is despite only 31% of people moving around Warsaw by car, according to a report by the City Roads Authority.

Pulawska street in Warsaw
Pulawska street in Warsaw (rowerowykrasnolud , X)

The proposed third underground line in the capital also faces criticism from experts, activists, journalists, and residents. While everyone agrees that the underground extension would benefit residents and the environment, the proposed design of the M3 line is controversial. The line will not go to the city centre from the right bank of Warsaw.

According to an interview with Centre for Sustainable Transport expert Stanislaw Biega on Radio Dla Ciebie, there are doubts about the usefulness of the planned third underground line that will connect Gocław with the city centre via a change at the National Stadium. Biega stated that this new line will result in a longer journey from Gocław to the centre than the current fast bus service.

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