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Experts: Paris Agreement should be binding for Czechs

14 December 2015

Prague, Dec 13 (CTK) - A great commitment for the Czech Republic arises from the outcome of the UN Paris climate protection conference, Czech scientists and environmentalists have told CTK after the Paris Agreement that is to reduce global pollution was passed.

The government should draft an anti-fossil law and have it enacted in parliament, the experts said.

It should support even more domestic renewable sources and start decommissioning coal-powered plants, the experts said.

The Paris Agreement is a chance to develop new technologies, innovations and businesses, they added.

Prominent environmental expert Bedrich Moldan said the Czech Republic should make an internal reversal.

"In the efficiency of the use of energy, we are lagging far behind. The Industry and Trade Ministry in particular should focus on this instead of Minister Jan Mladek (Social Democrats, CSSD) constantly proposing that the limits of coal-mining be lifted. The government does not seem to listen to such appeals," said Moldan, deputy head of the Environment Centre at Charles University.

"The government must write off all coal deposits and pass the anti-fossil law. It must reduce gas and petrol to at least one-third by 2030," physicist Jan Hollan, from the Global Change Research Center of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAV), said.

Hollan pointed out a statement by global scientists that the EU should stop using fossil fuels by 2030.

He said he could hardly imagine the Czech Republic achieving this goal, but it could still try to do so.

The Environment Ministry supports the anti-fossil law and the tripartite (employees, employers and the government) has already discussed it, spokeswoman Petra Roubickova said.

"Let us presume that after New Year, it will be placed on the agenda of a government meeting," Roubickova said.

At present, the Czech Republic produces roughly 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per person a year.

Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) said there was the aim of strongly reducing the quantity and approaching the EU average, which is seven tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person.

The government is preparing a number of measures with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he added.

The conference concluded that the mankind should get rid of its dependence on fossil fuels and the global warming should be kept to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, as compared with the pre-industrial era.

"The shift of the conference lies in the global climate changes becoming a global asset everyone is ready to face," Michal V. Marek, director of the Global Change Research Center, said.

However, experts from the Climate Coalition in the Czech Republic warned of a major shortcoming as there were no specific steps with which to lower the global emissions of greenhouse gases by the mid-century.

Individual countries will have to pass legislation and strategies for sufficient lowering of the emissions, they said.

The current commitments, including those submitted by the EU and the Czech Republic, would not be sufficient to fulfil the aim of two degrees, they said.

The agreement is better than what was suggested even by optimists two weeks ago, let alone two years ago, analyst Vojtech Kotecky, from the Glopolis center, said.

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