Press Advisories

2. 12. 2019 14:50

Speech by Prime Minister of the Czech Republic at the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The European Union is clearly the leader in the climate change agenda. The EU produces roughly 9% of the global emissions and yet we have been intensely discussing the transition towards climate neutrality.  Between 2017 and 2018 the EU decreased CO2 emissions by 80 milion tons but the rest of the world increased by 1020 milion of tons. Long term strategies of some large emitters do not indicate any improvement, but rather the opposite. Without stronger involvement of the rest of the world we cannot save the planet. So far there are not only insufficient global goals, but also insufficient endeavor to meet them and means how to enforce them.

Although the commitments are not the same for all states, the key is how we accomplish them. In the Czech Republic we not only fully supports the goals, but we are currently well on track to fulfill our commitments. In 2017 our greenhouse gas emissions were 35 per cent below the 1990 levels and are projected to decrease significantly further over the next decades. At the same time, our economy has grown five times since 1990, showing that economic growth and emission reductions feasible through technological progress and innovations.

In recent years, the Czech Republic has adopted several ambitious climate policies with the aim to achieve our mid and long term goals. The Czech Republic has been fully committed to keep its 2020 EU climate and energy obligations and I am glad to announce that we will meet the 2020 goals or even we will go beyond. We expect the reduction by 43 per cent by 2030. Our long term goal is to reduce emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

We cannot forget the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They are huge. Economic models show that the average annual costs of reaching even the current emission reduction targets for 2030 will be extremely high. Given the very different starting positions the Czech Republic will rank among the most affected EU Member states.

The Czech Republic’s economy strongly depends on industry and fossil fuels. Decreasing dependency on coal and strengthening low-emission energy sources will represent a substantial challenge, even if we invest a lot in new technologies, research and development.

I am absolutely convinced that further development of nuclear energy as a zero-emission source must be encouraged. We also take seriously the need to further develop renewable energy sources, but without substantial increase of nuclear in the energy mix it is not possible to reach carbon neutrality in the Czech Republic.

As leaders, we also have responsibility towards our own citizens and economies. We have to protect our environment and at the same time we must maintain our economies prosperous and competitive.

In this regard, the European Union cannot remain abandoned as the most ambitious actor in its struggle to adapt its economies to the ongoing climate change. There is only one planet for all of us, and its protection must be a common endeavor shared by all.

Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister

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