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French Order of Merit goes to Czech climate change expert

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Prague, May 26 (CTK) – French Ambassador to Prague Roland Galharague bestowed France’s Order of Merit on Czech environment protection expert Petr Kalas for his long efforts to fight the climate change on the national, international and European levels.

Galharague said Kalas is a citizen of an open and responsible world, and mentioned Kalas’s lifelong work in the above scientific branch.

Kalas started his career in the Tusimice coal-fired power plant, north Bohemia. In 1968, he emigrated to Switzerland where he focused on sustainable development and cooperated with the Swiss government.

Switzerland sent Kalas as its delegate to the World Bank, where he led a programme implementing the Kyoto Protocol rules aimed to reduce air pollution.

Galharague compared Kalas’s performance in the World Bank to a missionary who promotes the importance of the struggle against climate change all over the world.

He mentioned Kalas’s significant role in the negotiations preceding the Paris climate conference in 2015, where a new climate pact was reached.

Kalas also temporarily entered politics. He was environment minister in the first Czech cabinet of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) in the latter half of 2006. After the government was replaced by a new one in early 2007, Kalas became an adviser to Topolanek and other prime ministers.

At present, he heads Environment Minister Richard Brabec’s (ANO) team of advisers.

He is a co-founder and vice-president of the Czech branch of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

France has been awarding the Order of Merit for extraordinary civilian or military contribution to the French nation since 1963. Its Czech holders include former Czech ambassadors to Paris Jaroslav Sedivy, Pavel Fischer and Petr Janyska, journalist Petr Uhl, translator Karel Kraus, political scientist Jacques Rupnik, chanson singer Hana Hegerova and art collector and supporter Meda Mladkova.

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