Climate change mitigation (Czech Republic)
Why should we care about this issue
- Climate change
Climate change is currently affecting the Czech Republic and will be undoubtedly a high level issue in coming decades.
The fragile climate system of the Earth which is generally understood as the biggest global environmental issue of these days was only a secondary issue in the Czech Republic during the 1990s as more attention was paid to urgent issues such as air and water pollution. At the beginning of the 21st century, when most of the pressing problems had been solved, climate protection became more important and, currently, it is the issue number one in common with the rest of the EU. <br>
Observations show increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, rising global mean sea level, ocean acidification and more frequent extreme climatic events. It is very likely that most of the warming can be attributed to the emissions of greenhouse gases by human activities. <br>
Without immediate action climate change will impact all levels of society. Therefore, mitigation measures are required, aimed especially at limiting greenhouse gas emissions, at all levels of society, on a global, European and national scale.
The state and impacts
The GHG emissions in the Czech Republic are decreasing but are still higher in per capita and per GDP unit compared to the European average. The observed increase of average annual temperature during the last 50 years is approximately 0.3 °C per decade.
Air temperature in the Czech Republic is increasing; the beginning of the 21st century is the warmest period within more than last 200 years for which the instrumental observation is available. The speed of increase of the average annual temperatures over the past 50 years is approximately 0.3 ° C/10 years (see Fig.). The most significant trend of increasing temperature is observed in the summer months, the smallest in the period from September to November. Precipitation totals (annual and monthly) did not have statistically significant trend since 1961 (time series of precipitation are shorter than temperature observations). However, there are some changes in the temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation. Spatially bounded downpours, flood situations and prolonged droughts are getting more frequent, which relates to the overall increase of the climate extremity.
Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1801.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Between 1990 and 2008, the Czech Republic decreased its greenhouse gas emissions, by 27.5%. The commitment contained in the Kyoto Protocol (decrease of emissions by 8% until the 2008–2012 control period) will be well accomplished. A steep decline began to be seen at the beginning of the 1990s and since then, emissions have been stagnating, slightly rising at the beginning of 21.century and markedly decreasing from 2008. Regarding the Energy-Climate package of the EU, the Czech Republic is very likely to comply with the 20 % reduction target till 2020; nevertheless, some problems might occur if the higher (30 %) target had been endorsed.
Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1800.
The key drivers and pressures
Pressures on the environment in the Czech Republic are still higher per the unit of economical performance than it is usual in the EU. The development of GHG emissions is closely connected with the economical performance especially with the situation in energy, industry and transportation.
The state of the national economy in terms of pressures on the climate system has been markedly influenced by the situation in the past, in common with the other Visegrad countries. Until 1989, the Czech Republic’s economy was based on energy and material-intensive industrial production, in which heavy industry played an important part, including the production of basic metallurgical materials, cement and basic chemicals. This was associated with high consumption of primary energy sources (PES).
Nowadays, the position of industry in the Czech economy is still extraordinary. The share of Czech industry in GDP fluctuates around 32 %, while the average share in EU27 is approximately 20 % over a comparable time period. In the EU15 countries, the proportion is even lower (19.5 %) especially due to the gradual dematerialisation of the economy. Figures above 25 % are only seen in six EU countries.
The consumption of primary energy sources (PES) in the Czech Republic had been continuously growing since 2000. However, this trend was reversed in 2007 and the consumption of PES decreased – in 2007 and 2008 only slightly, but in 2009 markedly when the significant year-to-year decrease of PES accounted for 6.4 %. In the structure of PES, the share of solid fossil fuels decreased from 54.7 % in 2000 to 46.2 % in 2009, whereas the share of liquid and gas fuels slightly increased (see Fig.).
Energy intensity of the national economy was very unstable and greatly fluctuated between 2000 and 2003. However, since 2004, the situation has improved considerably and energy intensity has been rapidly decreasing. The highest decline by 6.4 % was recorded in 2008 but the situation in 2009 was affected by the decline of GDP due to the economic crisis. As a consequence, despite a very high year-to-year decline in the consumption of PES, energy intensity increased just slightly by 1.8 %.
Final energy consumption followed a similar trend as the consumption of PES. Within individual forms of energy, electricity consumption and fuel consumption increased after 2000 (mainly due to the development of transportation sector), while heat consumption decreased. In sectoral classifications, in 2009, the greatest proportion of energy (39.4 %) was consumed by industry. The second-greatest use of total energy consumption was households (decreasing trend, 22.2 % in 2009). Since 2007, the amount of energy consumed in households has been exceeded by the transportation sector (24.6 % of all consumption in 2009), whose energy consumption rapidly increased throughout the period 2000–2007 by 86 % (see Fig.).
By international comparison, the Czech Republic has an above average consumption of energy calculated per inhabitant compared to the EU15 and EU27 countries (2.5 TJ/capita compared to 2.3 and 2.1 TJ/capita in 2008, see Fig.). Regarding energy consumption distribution in national economic sectors, the Czech Republic has a higher rate of energy consumption in industry compared to the EU27 and EU15 countries. On the other hand, despite a strong increase in traffic over the past few years, energy consumption in this sector is still below the European average (see Fig.).
The share of renewable resources of total electricity generation and production is rather low, but increasing. The share of electricity production from renewable sources of final electricity consumption reached 6.89 % in 2009 (5.17% in 2008), which is below the target (8 %) for 2010 and which can hardly be achieved to date.
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The traffic situation nowadays can be characterised by increasing volumes of passenger car transportation, stagnation of freight transportation and an increasing share of environmentally unfriendly modes of transport. In fact, transport figures are gradually getting closer to the situation in EU15. The share of performance of automobile transportation in the total passenger transport volumes reached 62.4 % in 2009, the share of freight road transport in total transport capacities of freight transportation accounted for 74.7 % in 2009 (see Fig.). However, within the EU-27 context, the Czech Republic is still slightly below average with its share of automobile transport in domestic passenger transport.
The Czech Republic’s vehicle fleet of passenger cars is one of the oldest in the EU (approximately 13.6 years on average). Vehicles older than ten years make up about 60 % of the total vehicle number (about 2 600 000 vehicles, see Fig.). In 2009, about 22 % of the passenger car fleet (approx. 1 million vehicles) did not comply with any of the EURO emission standards. However, the situation is getting better and significant improvements have been recorded in recent years as far as the elimination of old cars from the register is concerned. Regarding buses and trucks, the situation is slightly better and their vehicle fleet is younger with more dynamic turnover.
After a period of moderate growth and subsequent stagnation in the early 21st century, the trend in greenhouse gas emissions in the Czech Republic turned to a period of stronger decline after 2007 (see Fig. A and Fig. B). Annual decline in 2008 was 4.1%, which is the largest since 1998. Since 1990, emissions have decreased by 27.5 % to 141.4 Mt CO2eq. (excluding LULUCF emissions and sinks). The Kyoto Protocol commitment (emissions decrease of 8 % by the 2008–2012 control period) has been accomplished. The largest share of emissions is from the energy industry – approximately 42 %, followed by the manufacturing industry (17 %) and mobile sources (mostly transportation) – approximately 14 % (see Fig.). Emissions from mobile sources have almost doubled since 1990. However, the share has not yet reached the average of the share of mobile sources in EU27.
In 2008, the highest absolute decrease in emissions was recorded in the energy sector (4.5 Mt CO2eq. i.e. 4.8 %) and in the sectors industrial processes and use of solvents (1.2 Mt CO2eq. i.e. 7.4 %). After having been increasing since 1994, emissions from mobile sources decreased by 0.5 Mt CO2eq.
The share of CO2 emissions in total greenhouse gas emissions (excluding LULUCF) was 85.4 % in 2008, the share of CH4 emissions was 8.2 %, N2O emissions were 5.5 % and the share of fluorine containing gases (F-gases) was 0.9 %. The shares of emissions of individual greenhouse gases in total emissions have been relatively stable for some time, and only a proportion of F gases is increasing somewhat.
Emission intensity is still high but has been decreasing during recent years. Greenhouse gas emissions per capita reached 13.5 t CO2eq. per capita in 2008 (18.4 t CO2eq. per capita in 1990) and are above the average of EU15 (10.15 t CO2eq.). The emission intensity of GDP generation (specific emissions per GDP unit) has also been decreasing. In 2008, it accounted for 46.9 kg CO2eq. per CZK 1 000, which means an annual decrease of 6.2 % and a decrease from 1995 by 38 %. The long-term trends in emission intensity followed so-called relative decoupling when the growth rate of economic performance is faster than that of emissions and generally the pressure on the environment.
Additional information: http://issar.cenia.cz/issar/page.php?id=1800.
The 2020 outlook
The greenhouse gas emissions will decline if the proposed measures are successfully implemented.
Emission projections presented within the fifth National Communication of the Czech Republic on the UNFCCC included three scenarios:
- without measures,
- with measures, i.e. with implemented measures, which came into force in the 1995–2005 period,
- with additional measures, i.e. with measures that have been prepared or are under preparation.
Additional measures included are:
- the Green Investment Scheme,
- measures adopted on the basis of the EU Climate and Energy Package, e.g. continuation of the EU ETS with full or partial auctioning of emission allowances,
- measures introduced on the basis of the existing Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council, laying down emission standards for new passenger cars (COM(2007) 0856).
The results are shown in Figure. According to these projections, in the case of the scenario with measures, a reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions of 12 % between 2005 and 2020 can be expected (122.5 Gg CO2eq. in 2020), the scenario with additional measures predicts a decrease in emissions of 18.4% (113.8 Gg CO2eq. in 2020). However, if no measures are implemented, an increase in emissions of 3.2 % (143.8 Gg CO2eq. in 2020) will be recorded (scenario without measures).
A substantial reduction will occur in industry (an effect of the EU ETS), agriculture and the residential sector (effect of the Green Investment Scheme). Projections of transport emissions are dependent on the shares of modes of transport in the total volume of transport, on development of vehicles and fuels and improvement of the infrastructure.
In the model calculation of the emission projections from energy-production processes, it was assumed that the Temelín nuclear power plant would be in normal operation throughout the monitored period, that the Dukovany nuclear power plant would be reconstructed in order to prolong its lifetime and will be in normal operation throughout the period of interest, and that there will be no limits on petroleum, gas and black coal imports after 2004 and that exports would be approximately 15 TWh annually until 2010, with a decrease to 10 TWh after 2010.
Further information is available online (fifth National Communication) .
Existing and planned responses
The Czech Republic, as the party of the European Communities, is involved in the international activities and treaties aimed at minimization of climate change and its impacts on population and ecosystems.
A decrease in national GHG emissions can be achieved with the support of EU structural funds within the realisation of operational programmes, namely the Environment operational programme, the Enterprise and innovations operational programme and the Transport operational programme.
The purpose of the Climate Protection Policy, currently being negotiated and finalised, is to supplement and coordinate already existing sectoral policies and measures with the aim of achieving the national targets for the protection of the climate and adaptation to the expected impacts of climate change. The time framework (to 2020) follows from the technical-economic and legislative framework (especially the EU Climate and Energy Package) and the related uncertainty in estimation of costs. The document states that the proposed target, i.e. reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % between 2005 and 2020, is achievable if all the proposed measures are implemented in the way described in general in the document.
The National Programme to Abate the Climate Change Impacts in the Czech Republic is a strategic document of the government of the Czech Republic. The document coordinates the sectoral and cross-cutting policies at a national level and also takes into consideration the requirements of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), which became binding for the Czech Republic on accession to the EU. The individual sectoral ministries were entrusted with implementation of the National Programme.
The National Programme, which was prepared according to the requirements of Council Decision 1999/296/EC, introduces both specific reduction (mitigation) measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also adaptation measures permitting society and ecosystems to adapt to climate change.
Regarding the upcoming measures, the Green Investment Scheme is one of the most important. The programme aims to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the housing sector. The programme will be funded from the sale of emission allowances.
Further information on all documents and measures mentioned is available online (Fifth National Communication to the UNFCCC).