The Czech Republic has announced it will exit coal by 2033, delaying the date included in the Paris climate agreement by three years.
The new government’s programme mainly aims to protect water, soil and climate, supporting the Green Deal, seen as a way to achieve energy self-sufficiency and modernise the economy.
“The central theme of today, including our forthcoming presidency, is and will be climate protection,” said the Minister of the Environment Anna Hubáčková. “In addition to adaptation measures, the clear challenge is to prepare the ground for a coal phase-out by 2033.”
At the end of 2020, the Czech Coal Commission – an advisory body to the government established to set out an exit date for coal production – recommended withdrawing from coal mining by 2038. Other deadlines were also on the table: the Commission considered scenarios of an earlier (2033) and later (2043) coal exit as well. Then in May, the former government talked about 2038 as a ”balanced compromise.” Not of the same idea was the International Energy Agency (IEA) which reminded the country of the need to prepare for an earlier phase-out of coal and develop low-carbon energy sources to replace it.
“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,” said Mahi Sideridou, Europe Beyond Coal’s Managing Director. “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.”
Lukáš Hrábek, Press Officer at Greenpeace Czech Republic sees country-level coal exit plans accelerating across Europe and believes that the country will phase out coal before 2030 in the end like the other responsible and developed European countries.
“But even the inadequate coal phase-out date in 2033 sends a clear signal to the Czech energy industry that the plans to expand Bílina mine or to retrofit old coal power plants have to be abandoned now,” he added.