19 October 2020

Czech coal commission contemplates self-defeating coal phase out

Prague, 19 October 2020 – The Czech government is in danger of looking out of touch at the upcoming EU council meeting, as its coal commission is homing in on a post-2030 phase out that would undermine Czech prime minister Andrej Babiš’s recent commitment to increasing the EU’s climate target to 55 percent by 2030. 

Like its German counterpart, the Czech coal commission is exploring several coal phase out scenarios, encompassing 2033, 2038, and 2043. Studies show that the country can achieve a 2030 transition from coal to renewables, and that there is overwhelming public support to do so [1]. The dates under discussion by the Czech coal commission are already out of step with this, and will invariably need to be accelerated even more to secure a more robust EU climate target.

“The Czech coal commission still doesn’t have all the expert materials needed to decide about the coal phase out, yet Minister Havlíček is preemptively calling for 2038 to be the default phase out date decision,” said Jiří Koželouh from Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic), a member of the coal commission for the Green Circle – association of Czech environmental NGOs. “This is undemocratic pandering to the coal industry, and an embarrassment for Prime Minister Babiš, all so ČEZ and local coal barons can delay the inevitable closure of their polluting plants.”

To highlight the influence of industry on the Coal commission process, environmental organisations Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic) and Greenpeace today published a coal plant shut-down list, which was not created by the coal commission itself in the past due to opposition from coal utilities [2]. The list ranks the proposed shutdown order for plants, according to emissions intensity criteria approved by the Commission. ČEZ plants occupy the earliest three spots.

“If prime minister Babiš is honest about wanting faster emissions reductions, then he needs to tell his Minister of Industry and Trade, Karel Havlíček, to not undermine him ahead of the EU Council,” said Lukáš Hrábek, press officer for Greenpeace Czech Republic. “Focusing on post 2030 coal phase out dates will set the Czech Republic up to fail its emissions reductions commitments, and make a mess of its energy transition. Workers and communities will ultimately pay the price.” 

“A decision to phase out coal will be a tremendous leap forward for the Czech Republic, but its coal commission is in danger of making the same mistakes as its German counterpart,” said Mahi Sideridou, Europe Beyond Coal managing director. “The coal industry is collapsing all across Europe, and improvements to EU climate policies underline that a 2030 coal phase is now unavoidable. Germany’s coal phase date is already being outpaced by reality, and should serve as a warning, not a model.”

 

Contacts:

Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185 (English)

Lukáš Hrábek, Press Officer in Greenpeace Czech Republic, +420 603 443 140,
[email protected] (English, Czech)

Jiří Koželouh, Campaigner in Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic), +420 723 559 495,
[email protected] (English, Czech)

Notes:

  1. Studies show that a 2030 coal phase-out that is compatible with the UN Paris climate agreement is achievable in the Czech Republic, and polling demonstrates that there is strong public support for such a pathway. Only 15 percent of Czechs say coal is their preferred energy source, while 75 percent support renewable solutions like solar and wind. Even 52 percent of Czechs from lignite-mining regions (Ústecký, Karlovarský) are supportive of an end to coal mining and burning sooner than by 2035. 
    Czech Power Grid Without Electricity From Coal By 2030 (Frank Bold) https://bit.ly/2H4vzsh
    Energie 2020 – část Uhelná energetika (Hnutí DUHA, In Czech) https://bit.ly/2Y2B5Qe
  2. Environmental organisations Hnutí DUHA (Friends of the Earth Czech Republic) and Greenpeace published a coal plant shutdown list today. The list ranks the proposed plants, according to emission intensity criteria approved by the commission earlier this year. The largest coal-fired power plant in the country, ČEZ’s Počerady, should be the first to go, as it has the highest emission intensity of 1,033 tons of CO2 per MWh, followed by ČEZ’s Mělník III, and Dětmarovice plants.
    https://www.greenpeace.org/czech/tiskova-zprava/11844/ekologicke-organizace-zverenily-odmitany-seznam-elektraren-k-odstaveni-podle-kriterii-uhelne-komise/

About: 

Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

Photo: Zasedání Uhelné komise v elektrárně v Prunéřově. (c) Greenpeace – Petr Zewlakk Vrabec

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