Czech Republic plans to phase out coal by 2033
The Czech Republic’s recently elected government has pledged to phase out the use of coal in the country's energy production by 2033.
The country plans to replace most of the lost energy output by ramping up its nuclear and renewable energy facilities.
The election in October 2021 saw incumbent Prime Minister and billionaire populist Andrej Babiš lose out to a centre-right coalition led by Petr Fiala.
“We will create such conditions for the energy transformation and development of coal regions to make it possible to phase out coal by the year 2033,” Fiala said.
The country has long been reliant on coal, which is the most carbon-producing fossil fuel. It currently accounts for almost 50 per cent of Czech energy production.
Other European countries including Spain and Finland have pledged to end the use of coal in energy production by 2030, while the UK plans to phase it out by 2025.
Environmentalists are concerned that the Czech government’s pledge is too slow and that coal must be phased out faster.
Mahi Sideridou, the managing director of Europe Beyond Coal, said: “It’s momentous that the Czech government understands that we are in the end game for European coal, but its 2033 coal phase-out commitment means it’s getting off on the wrong foot.
“The Czech government knows all too well that climate science tells us that European countries need to phase out coal by 2030. It must accelerate the plan.”
The previous Czech government launched a coal commission in 2020, which produced three different scenarios for phasing out coal in 2033, 2038 and 2043, before formally recommending 2038.
Europe Beyond Coal said that all the scenarios were modelled on an Emissions Trading System price of €30 (£25) per tonne in 2030, despite prices already being north of €80 per tonne today.
“We see country-level coal exit plans accelerating across Europe and believe that the Czech Republic will phase out coal before 2030 in the end like the other responsible and developed European countries,” said Lukáš Hrábek, press officer at Greenpeace Czech Republic.
“Even the inadequate coal phase-out date in 2033 sends a clear signal to Czech energy industry that the plans to expand Bílina mine or to retrofit old coal power plants have to be abandoned now.”
Despite the UK government’s rhetoric on phasing out coal, it gave approval in January 2021 for a new coal mine in Cumbria. Following considerable backlash over the move, Boris Johnson said he did not support coal expansion plans when speaking at COP26 in October 2021. A full decision over whether the mine will actually go ahead or not is expected in the coming weeks.
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