26 January 2021
Czech government to decide on coal exit as EU foreign ministers call for global coal phase out
PRAGUE, 26 January 2021 – The Czech government is expected to agree a date for the closure of all of its coal plants on Monday 1 February, with none of the options currently on the table in line with climate science or economic reality. Ministers are already split on the issue, and will be acutely aware of yesterday’s decision by the EU Foreign Affairs Council to push for a complete global phase out of coal powered electricity generation.
A Czech coal commission recommended in December a 2038 coal exit, based on an unrealistically low emission allowance price of EUR 30 per tonne in 2030, despite it hitting almost EUR 35 per tonne earlier this month . With the EU seeking to put the increased 2030 climate target into legislation later this year, allowance prices are expected to go even higher. Meanwhile, reports by BNEF  and UK think tank, Ember , show that the Czech Republic could exit coal by 2030 (which is the UN Paris climate agreement-aligned date) if economics are left to determine the energy mix, and investments in renewable energy production are made at a rate similar to other EU countries.
“Czech Ministers need to read the room carefully before voting on the country’s coal exit, as the post-2030 dates they currently have on the table are out of sync with EU political and market reality, and risk future potential exclusion from EU funds,” said Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal campaign director. “The EU Foreign Affairs Council and UN Secretary General are already calling for an end to coal globally, three European countries have already gone coal free, and a further eleven are set to do so by 2030 at the latest. The Czech Republic has an unprecedented opportunity to join them. All it needs is its government to accept the inevitable end to coal this decade.”
“The only logical choice for the Czech Republic is to set a Paris-compatible coal exit date, which means no coal power plant should be operational beyond 2030. Coal is bad for our health and our wallets, and there is no way it can survive without citizens’ money as subsidies. A timely coal phase-out will give a chance for solar and wind to grow and help tap fully into the benefits of a clean energy system and a just transition. We should keep in mind that this transition to a clean energy system is necessary, feasible and inevitable,” said Climate Action Network Europe, senior coal policy coordinator, Elif Gündüzyeli.
Kathrin Gutmann, Campaign Director, Europe Beyond Coal (German, English)
[email protected], + 49 (0) 1577 836 3036
Elif Gündüzyeli, Senior Coal Policy Coordinator, Climate Action Network Europe
[email protected], +32 0493 935 645
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185
- Key ministers in the Czech government are split on the issue of coal phase out. The Minister for Health is calling for a coal exit as soon as possible, the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Foreign Affairs support a 2033 coal exit, the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs is calling for further impact assessments, while the Minister for Industry and Trade is pushing for a 2038 phase out or later. The key decision-maker will be the Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš.
- The Czech coal commission discussed three phase out scenarios: 2033, 2038 and 2043, before formally recommending 2038.
- Overview of national coal phase-outs in Europe: https://beyond-coal.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Overview-of-national-coal-phase-out-announcements-Europe-Beyond-Coal-January-2021.pdf
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 170 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1.500 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe. www.caneurope.org