Czech prime minister joins world leaders at climate change conference in Paris

Photo: CTK

Close to 150 world leaders have descended on Paris for a much anticipated UN climate change conference with the aim of producing a legally binding climate treaty that would keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 C. The EU’s contribution to the agreement will be a binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 40%by 2030.

Photo: CTK
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka joined heads of state and government in Paris on Monday for a climate change conference that is to make a significant impact in curbing global warming and for the first time ever produce a treaty that would include both the big industrial players and the developing states. The Czech Republic’s position is already given by an agreement reached within the EU. Pavel Zámyslický, head of the Climate Change Department at the Czech Environment Ministry, is a member of the Czech delegation to Paris.

“For the Czech Republic it is most important to achieve an agreement in Paris, a long-term global agreement which would be fair and stable and which would include all parties with the aim of reaching the below 2 degrees Celsius target. EU leaders agreed in October 2014 on a gas emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030 – which means that this target is binding as well for the Czech Republic.”

Pavel Zámyslický, photo: archive of Pavel Zámyslický
And aid to the developing world which is essential if such an agreement is to work?

“Of course, it is necessary to help finance different adaptation and mitigation measures and projects in the developing countries, especially the poorest ones. It is necessary to help them through the Green Climate Fund, through different bilateral and multilateral channels so it will be necessary to mobilize both private and public financial sources to this end.”

While the Czech branch of Greenpeace has expressed doubts as to whether the Czech Republic can meet its environmental commitments without changing its long- term energy policy it says the EU agreement dating back to October of 2014 has forced the country to accept a greater share of responsibility than at any time in the past. Even so, Jan Rovenský of Greenpeace says that alongside its verbal commitment to helping the developing countries the Czech Republic will need to increase the size of its annual financial contribution as well. As regards the chances of seeing a binding agreement reached in Paris, Jan Rovenský says that he is not overly optimistic.

Jan Rovenský, photo: Czech Television
“It is hard to estimate the outcome of the conference, but with the current position of all parties I am quite sceptical of a real, final, legally-binding deal being made in Paris. The good news could be that at the Kyoto conference a couple of years ago the original ceiling was very similar and finally there was a deal - so there is still some chance that there will be some outcome.”