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Czech anti-fossil law might take effect as from 2018, minister says

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Prague, April 10 (CTK) – The “anti-fossil” law the Czech government is preparing to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas, is likely to take effect as from 2018, Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) said on Czech Television yesterday.
He said the law would not be aimed against natural gas. The criterion of its effectivity would be the future reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, he said, adding that gas does not pollute the air so heavily.
The Environment Ministry plans to submit the bill to the cabinet by the end of September.
If the cabinet approves it, it should be submitted to parliament by the end of the year, Brabec said.
“We are bound to launch the first programmes reducing carbon dioxide emissions as from 2019, so we relatively still have time,” Brabec said.
He said the government wants the law to have a declaratory character and cover a long period of time, far beyond 2030 until when Prague’s current commitments to the EU are valid.
“We would the prospects to be outlined until 2050,” he said.
The unions and employers object that the planned bill’s impact on the country’s economic competitiveness should be assessed first.
Lubos Pavlas, from the Czech Industry Confederation board and director of the Chvaletice lignite-fired power plant, called the bill unfortunate yesterday.
“No one wants us to pass the bill,” he said.
Pavlas said the Czech Republic is an industrial country, whose industry contributes to its GDP most of all. If burdened with costs and measures, “the industry may leave for somewhere,” Pavlas warned.
Brabec said the law should apply not only to industry but also to transport, agriculture and other economic branches.
He said the Czech Republic has lowered its carbon dioxide emissions by 37 percent since 1990, and it is close to meeting the goal the EU set for the period until 2030.
Rather than carbon dioxides, the Czech Republic’s problem are dust particles, for example the cancerous benzo(a)pyrene generated mainly by household heating and traffic, Brabec said.
The goal of the planned “anti-fossil” law is to gradually reduce the use of fossil fuels until 2050.
The situation should be checked once in five years at least. The government would report on the implementation of the law to parliament, Brabec said.
He said the Czech Republic might reach a 25-percent share of renewable sources of energy in the overall energy production.
A solution might rest in a future development of new technologies, but only on condition they are not backed by subsidies, Brabec added.

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