Michał Kurtyka is a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center.

Most recently, Kurtyka served as the first minister of Poland’s Ministry of Climate, which expanded to become the Ministry of Climate and Environment. During his tenure starting in 2019, the Polish government adopted its 2040 Energy Policy, opening a new era for the Polish energy transition. He designed the implementation and financing of the energy transition, particularly in launching programs such as “My Water,” “Green Public Transport,” “Green Cars,” and “The City of Tomorrow.” He oversaw record increases in registration for the development of renewable sources, reaching thousands of megawatts of installed capacity in photovoltaics and one million prosumers. He launched industrial alliances for hydrogen, photovoltaics, and biogas, and he put forth a framework for the development of offshore wind. He also originated “The Electromobility Development Plan” and guided the creation of the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels, enabling these forms of transport to develop dynamically.

Prior to becoming minister, Kurtyka was appointed as government plenipotentiary for the Presidency of COP24—the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Poland. From July 2018, he also held the position of secretary of state in the Ministry of Environment. In December 2018, he became the COP24 president, which ended with the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Starting in January 2016, Kurtyka served as the undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Energy, where he was responsible for the technological development and implementation of innovations in the energy sector, implementation of climate and energy policy in the fuel and gas sector, and relations with other countries and international organizations. He was also responsible for supervising the state’s participation in the biggest Polish oil and gas companies, such as Orlen, Lotos, and PGNiG.

Kurtyka is a graduate of the prestigious Parisian École Polytechnique and earned a scholarship in quantum optics at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, located near Washington, where he worked under the leadership of Nobel laureate in physics William D. Phillips. Kurtyka also specialized in economics, with a particular focus on industrial and market organization, studying under Jean Tirole, the 2014 Nobel laureate in economics. In the field of international economics, he studied at the University in Louvain-la-Neuve, and he earned his master’s degree at the SGH Warsaw School of Economics. He defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Warsaw.