Under EC proposal Czech Republic to double “green energy” production by 2020

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On Wednesday, the European Commission made public its planned reforms in its fight against climate change. The proposed measures are aimed to help the EU slash greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020, as well as to increase reliance on green energy. Under the measures the Czech Republic, for example, will have to more than double energy production from renewable sources.

Mirek Topolánek, photo: CTK
The European Commission sent a signal on Wednesday that it’s serious in its fight on climate change, approving new measures aimed at cutting EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent over the next twelve years. In March 2007, union representatives made the pledge to cut emissions and raise energy production from renewable sources; now individual targets for individual countries have been tentatively set. Under the measures, the Czech Republic will not face emissions cuts like some wealthier EU countries, but will have to start producing more energy from renewable sources (wind, water and biomass) going from a current 5 to 13 percent over the next twelve years. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek made clear the government was satisfied with the quota, saying the target could be met.

“We see this as a success: we were able to maintain the numbers more or less close to those proposed by the government.”

The news was also welcomed by ecologists who have stressed that refocusing on green power was an opportunity not to be missed, although some, like Vojtěch Kotecký of the ecological organisation Hnutí duha, said in the Czech Republic’s case the EC could have gone further.

“Generally speaking, we believe that it will be a boost for green industries in the Czech Republic, for renewable energy and for innovation and investment in low-carbon technologies. However, we do not really understand the commission’s figures for the Czech Republic, because the commission decided that the Czech Republic should use only a fraction of our potential for renewable energy. The estimates are that the Czech Republic could cover something like 18 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, while the EC suggested just 13 percent.

“And while the Czech Republic is one of the worst per-capita polluters in the EU, the commission proposes that in the non-industrial sectors we will even be allowed to increase our emissions in the next twelve years. The Czech Republic has enormous potential but the commission suggests we should leave those opportunities unused.”

Certainly some are welcoming the European Commission’s proposals a good deal less: namely, those in big industry. The EU’s plan to fight carbon emissions will mean major investment and industry representatives warn that will drive up prices. Also, apart from some exceptions, companies will lose the right to free emissions allocations in 2013, meaning permits will have to be bought in auction.

As it stands the proposals put forward by the European Commission are just a beginning: they will still need to be endorsed by members of the European Parliament as well as individual member states. Final measures are only expected to come into effect after 2009.