Activists demand end to coal, begin ten-day protest at Czech environment ministry

Environmental groups say proposed dates set for the end of coal mining in the Czech Republic are insufficient with respect to the Paris climate agreement.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 17.11.2020 11:00 (updated on 18.11.2020)

Environmental activists began a ten-day protest outside the seat of the Environment Ministry Monday to pressure Czech coal commission members to agree on the soonest possible date to phase out coal mining and burning in the country, Fridays for Future spokesman Petr Doubravsky said.

The coal commission is expected to recommend the coal end-date on November 26 and the Czech government is to decide on it by the end of the year.

Doubravsky pointed out that the phase-out period for coal mining in the Czech Republic proposed for 2033, 2038 and 2043 respectively are insufficient with respect to the commitments made in the Paris climate agreement.

According to CTK sources, the deadline for the end of use of coal will likely be 2038. Germany has already set this date.

Members of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion (left to right) Vaclav from Brno, Jani from Kosice, Slovakia and Jolana from Prague sit outside the Czech Ministry of Environment in Prague on the first day of a 10-day protest against the mining and burning of coal in the country. (photo: James Fassinger - Expats.cz)
Members of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion (left to right) Vaclav from Brno, Jani from Kosice, Slovakia and Jolana from Prague sit outside the Czech Ministry of Environment in Prague on the first day of a 10-day protest against the mining and burning of coal in the country. (photo: James Fassinger - Expats.cz)

The protest is organized by Fridays for Future (FFF), Universities for Climate, Extinction Rebellion and We Are the Limits (Limity jsme my).

Doubravsky asked the commission to set the soonest possible start date for coal phase-out, regardless of the final decision by the government.

The activists said the coal commission was set up as a result of the student climate strikes and its members should keep in mind that the it should be committed to the protection of the climate.

Krystof Riha, from Universities for Climate said, people from the Czech regions to be affected by the phase-out should be more represented in the coal commission. There should be retraining programs for people who lose their jobs because of the end of coal production, the activists said.

The Confederation of Industry stated previously that the coal commission recommendation for the government must be based on a good analyses of its working groups. It said the present models for the phase-out are lacking the necessary data concerning total costs, required conditions and risks involved.

The coal commission was set up last year as a consulting body of the Czech government. It is headed by Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) and Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek (ANO). Its 19 members include representatives of mining companies, academics and environmentalists.

Havlicek told CTK Monday that he guaranteed that the commission would not yield to any ideological or economic lobbying and would be deciding based on facts.