'More must be done': NGOs respond to EU environment proposals for Czechia

The European Commission has this week recommended EU countries to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent before 2040 – many say this will be hard.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 07.02.2024 11:40:00 (updated on 07.02.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Following the European Commission (EC)-led recent recommendation for EU countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent before 2040, Czech environmental organizations have urged the country to ramp up its efforts in becoming greener. 

Weaning off fossil fuels

Environmentalists see the EU’s advice as an opportunity for Czechia to achieve energy security faster, while also addressing its reliance on fossil fuels – environmental organizations say that Czechia is overdependent on the fuels.

The 90 percent emissions reduction is a general, Europe-wide goal, with each country having its own target. Czechia's current stance is more realistic, aiming for a 75 to 80 percent reduction.

“We must also not neglect our previous goals for 2030, increasing our target for renewables to at least 33 percent," noted Jiří Koželouh from the Czech branch of the Friends of the Earth non-governmental organization. Renewables comprise only 18 percent of the country's total energy consumption.

According to the Calla environmental organization, Czechia must prioritize phasing out fossil fuels and meeting its energy needs more aggressively through renewable sources. Edvard Sequens, the association’s energy consultant, criticized the government's current focus on building nuclear reactors.

As the state revises its strategic documents to define its climate policy for the coming years, Kateřina Kolouchová from the Facts on Climate portal questions if Czechia will be ambitious enough to contribute to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.

The Czech Center for Transport and Energy welcomes the proposed goal as the most effective way to ensure Europe's energy security and independence from fossil fuel imports. "Our data shows that the benefits of rapid emission reductions for Europe outweigh the costs, and delaying climate action will only make the transformation more expensive," said analyst Štěpán Vizi.

Not going far enough?

However, Greenpeace Czech Republic's climate campaign manager Miriam Macurová believes the EC’s goals are still too low. "To truly achieve the EU's goals, we must end coal, oil, and gas extraction and burning. The proposed goal relies on questionable carbon capture and storage technology, rather than aiming for zero emissions," said Macurová.

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When asked for their opinions, Czech members of European Parliament (MEPs) showed divided views on the EC's recommendation. Stanislav Polčák and other Czech MEPs from the right-leaning European Parliament’s People's Party see the new goal as ambitious and achievable. 

However, MEPs such as Alexandr Vondra (part of the Conservatives and Reformists group) and Ondřej Knotek (from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe party) criticize the recommendation.

Czech environmental organizations see the EC's proposal as an opportunity for the country to address its dependence on fossil fuels and achieve energy security. However, opinions are divided on the recommended goal of reducing emissions by 90 percent by 2040, with a section of people believing it is achievable, some saying it is unrealistic, and others thinking it is not ambitious enough. 

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