Ski resorts around the Czech Republic are witnessing one of the worst snow seasons on record, and according to long-term predictions by Czech climate experts, we can expect even less snow in the future. While the skiing season in the country’s mountains will be considerably shorter, white winters in the low-lying parts of the Czech Republic will soon become a distant memory.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Visegrad Four counterparts met in
Prague on Thursday to discuss energy and climate change with Austrian
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
The V4 summit attended by the Austrian chancellor focussed on energy and EU climate change policy, areas where the positions of Austria and the V4 (which includes Slovakia, Poland and Hungary) differ significantly.
Unlike Austria, the V4 countries say achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is not possible without building more nuclear power plants.Austria does not like the idea that EU money paid to help phase-out coal mining and boost alternate energy sources should be used for nuclear power.
PM Babiš argues that in the interests of “energy security” and ecomomic growth, the Czech Republic must build new nuclear units even if it contravenes European Union law.
The talks also covered EU funding and migration where the heads of government found more common ground.They agreed on the need to fight illegal migration,rejected the idea of obligatory migrant quotas and stressed the importance of defending the EU's outer borders.
Since the talks were held on the anniversary of the death of student martyr Jan Palach, the prime ministers laid flowers at the Palach memorial at the top end of Wenceslas Square where Palach set himself on fire in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion.
Last year was the second warmest in the Czech Republic since 1961,
according to data published on Wednesday by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological
Institute. The daily average temperature in 2019 was 9.5 degrees Celsius,
which was 1.6 degrees Celsius above the long-term average.
The hottest year since 1961 was 2018. The years 2014 and 2015 are tied for third hottest year in almost six decades.
In his traditional Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman began as usual on a positive note – highlighting the country’s economic successes – before turning to what he views as problematic areas. In a 16-minute televised address otherwise void of religious symbolism, Zeman also branded himself a “climate heretic” and urged Czechs to think for themselves rather than follow “false prophets”.
The head of CzechGlobe, the Global Change Research Institute at the Czech
Academy of Sciences, Michal Marek has described President Zeman’s
statements regarding climate change as “tragic and unacceptable “.
He said that the president had made claims which had been refuted many
times over long ago, and that attempts to play down mankind‘s
responsibility for climate change was extremely irresponsible. He said
Europe had a moral responsibility to lead the way by example.
In his Christmas message to the nation, Zeman said temperatures on Planet Earth had fluctuated for millions of years and he was not convinced that this was due to human activity rather than the forces of Nature. He said Europe should be careful in making commitments with regard to carbon neutrality since the impact of such a policy would be an impoverished continent.
As the European Commission prepares to outline its Green Deal on Wednesday, the Czech branch of Greenpeace has staged a protest in Prague against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who looks like he might be the only European leader to block the EU’s decision to become carbon neutral by 2050. On Monday evening, Greenpeace activists symbolically set the government building on fire, screening images of flames on its façade.
The Czech Republic lacks effective tax incentives and other measures that
would encourage households and businesses to cut greenhouse gas emissions,
the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) says in a new report.
The Czech state has failed to motivate citizens to use greener vehicles, reduce energy consumption and switch to greener energy sources, the report says. The NKÚ notes that financial and tax measures fall under the remit of the ministries of Finance, Transport and Environment.
Unlike in most European Union member states, the report says, financial measures aimed at combatting global warming are not actively enforced in the Czech Republic. Here, the three ministries are merely tracking developments, according to the NKÚ.
The representatives of the global youth climate change initiative
"Fridays for Future" described the meeting with the Czech Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš as unproductive.
The group’s spokesman Petr Doubravský said after the meeting on Friday that the protests will continue.
"The Prime Minister has refused to support carbon neutrality for 2050. He said he would oppose it again at the next EU summit, which is a position with which we absolutely disagree," Mr Doubravský said.
For his part, Mr Babiš said he offered to cooperate with the students but they didn’t seem interested.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) is expected this week to meet Czech
representatives of the international youth climate change initiative
“Fridays for Future”.
Among other things, they will likely discuss the future of coal mining in the Czech Republic, which is the fifth-biggest polluter in Europe and the 20th in the world in terms of CO2 emissions.
Working groups of the so-called Coal Commission are now drafting plans to end coal mining sometime after 2030 in order to reduce greenhouse gases.
The Czech Republic will not be able to finance the shift to a low-emissions
economy and would need hundreds of billions of crowns from the EU, in
addition to cohesion funds, in order to fulfil the goals set for 2050,
Environment Minister Richard Brabec said at a press conference in Prague on
Friday. "We are ready to debate it, but we are not capable of
financing it" Brabec said about the EC’s plans for a carbon-neutral
The press conference was held ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Madrid on Monday, and the EU climate summit scheduled for mid-December.
Also present at the press conference, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš emphasized that the Czech Republic must retain the right to decide on the country’s energy mix. By 2050, nuclear energy should form one half of the country's energy mix, coal and natural gas should form about 20 percent.