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HN: ODS lawmakers block Paris climate deal’s Czech ratification

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Prague, June 12 (CTK) – The Czechs, together with the Dutch, are the only EU countries not to have ratified the Paris climate agreement reached in 2015 and signed by 195 countries, since the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) have blocked its approval by parliament, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) wrote on Monday.

The rightist ODS lawmakers consider the Paris climate agreement harmful. The ODS has only 16 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies but still it has repeatedly prevented the agreement’s approval.

“The [lower house] started discussing the agreement four times, with the ODS always preventing the completion of the debate. As far as I know, the ODS is ready to do anything to prevent the ratification until the [October general] election within its crusade against [measures to tackle] the climate change,” Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) is quoted as saying.

The Chamber of Deputies first adjourned the debate in November 2016, then in December, for the third time in January and last time in March, HN writes.

The ODS lawmakers always use a similar method to block the agenda.

After the debate starts in parliament, an ODS deputy proposes its interruption due to the absence of the industry and trade minister. In a subsequent vote, the proposal gains consent from a majority of lawmakers and the debate has to be adjourned.

“As soon as the [parliamentary] debate on the [Paris] agreement is resumed, I will be the first to deliver a speech,” ODS MP Jan Zahradnik, who leads the deal’s opponents, is quoted as saying.

Brabec said the ODS lawmakers had told him that they are ready to block the decision until the elections.

“However, nothing can be done about this in a situation, where the ODS’s obstructions threaten to completely paralyse the work of the lower house that has many other important issues to deal with,” Brabec said.

Zahradnik admitted that his speech opening the debate might be long.

According to HN’s information, Brabec and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) have discussed ways to outwit the ODS in this respect.

They reportedly pondered convoking the lower house’s extraordinary plenary session to exclusively discuss the Paris deal, but made no final decision yet.

By all means will Sobotka and Brabec try to put the issue on the lower house’s agenda again.

The ODS nevertheless, does not plan to give up. It says the Paris deal is based on a disputable theory of global climate changes caused by humans.

“It will have unpredictable negative impacts on our economy, energy security and constitutional order,” Zahradnik is quoted as saying, referring to the agreement.

The ODS was in 1991 established by Vaclav Klaus, former Czech prime minister and president, an economist by training who has written several books challenging the climate change theory.

The Paris agreement binds the Czech Republic to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent by 2030, compared with the situation in 1990.

Brabec said the country has already achieved a 35-percent reduction, also owing to a series of measures in the energy sector and the winding up of mining.

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