Czech Republic: Expectations for the Czech Anti-fossil Bill not so great

23.02.2017

The Czech Minister for the Environment, Richard Brabec, recently abandoned his plan to submit a bill on reducing dependency on fossil fuels (“Anti-fossil Bill”) to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic during this legislative period.[1] It is further expected that the Minister will propose postponing the submission of the Anti-fossil Bill, preparations for which the Czech Ministry for the Environment started over a year ago.

The Anti-fossil Bill was to propose a low-emission programme for reducing the dependency of the Czech Republic on the fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal. The programme was to be updated every 5 years and evaluated on yearly basis. The aim was to reduce the Czech Republic’s dependency on fossil fuels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% (compared to greenhouse gas emissions in 1990) until 2050.[2]

The Czech Government adopted a resolution to prepare the Anti-fossil Bill in March 2016[3] after setting the proposal of such bill as one its targets in the Policy Statement.[4] However, the Anti-fossil Bill itself was never drafted, only an impact assessment study (“Study”)[5] was prepared and reviewed. The Study compares the impact of adopting the Anti-fossil Bill and the status quo, i.e. in accordance with the State Energy Concept of the Czech Republic.[6] The Study suggested that adoption of the Anti-fossil Bill would endanger the competitiveness of the Czech Republic given the fact that as much as 1,4 billion Czech crowns from 2020 onwards would have to be spent if the Anti-fossil Bill was adopted. This would lead to higher costs for heat and electricity for households and consequently to slower economic growth.

On the other hand, the Study also mentions that adoption of the Anti-fossil Bill would lead to the creation of 9000 new job opportunities, whereas the status quo would lead to the loss of 5000 jobs. Furthermore, the adoption of the Anti-fossil Bill should lead to a reduction in the import of fuels and also the environment should be less harmful for the public health.

The authors of the Study suggested that more time is necessary to review the impact of each option for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. It is not ruled out that the Anti-fossil Bill will be adopted in the next legislative period.

The abandonment of the Anti-fossil Bill was welcomed by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade, one of the opponents of the Anti-fossil Bill within the Czech government. The Ministry for Industry and Trade is responsible for drafting, reviewing and updating the State Energy Concept which is sufficient according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, even though it sets a lower goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, with the abandonment of the plan to adopt the Anti-fossil Bill, the State Energy Concept is the main document for tackling the Czech Republic’s dependency on fossil fuels.

 

Similar acts on the reduction of dependency on fossil fuels have already been adopted by several European countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Other countries such as Ireland and Spain are also considering adopting such acts.



[1] Elections for the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic will take place in the end of 2017.

[2] The number is for the low-emission variant presented by the Anti-fossil Bill. The other option is to follow the State Energy Concept of the Czech Republic.

[3] See Resolution of the Government of the Czech Republic Nr. 192 dated 9 March 2016.

[4] Proposing the Anti-fossil Bill was one of the targets of the Current Czech Government as stated in the Policy Statement, Prague, February 2014, available at: https://www.vlada.cz/assets/media-centrum/dulezite-dokumenty/programove_prohlaseni_unor_2014.pdf.

[5] The impact study was prepared by EGÚ Brno and the Centre for Environmental Issues of Charles University in Prague.