Andrej Babiš at the EU summit in May via Wikimedia / Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

Climate change must be approached realistically, says Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš

It is crucial to approach climate change rationally and avoid turning it into a fanatic religion and it is important to prepare for the changes in an effective way, says Andrej Babiš

Prague, Sept 17 (CTK) – It is crucial to approach climate change rationally and avoid turning it into a fanatic religion and it is important to prepare for the changes in an effective way, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said at a session of the Chamber of Deputies today.

Babiš said the Czech Republic shares the goal of carbon neutrality, but the related changes to the economy must be effective and the financial burden must be shared among individual countries in a just way.

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He plans to talk about the role of the UN in the world’s approach to climate change at his visit to the UN Climate Change Summit in New York next week.

“We must take into account that we should not overdo things, like not having children or becoming vegetarians because of the climate,” he said.

Babiš added that it is nonetheless important to prepare for the coming changes.

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In the case of the Czech Republic, that will mean modifying the landscape in order to prevent water loss, as well as convincing the European Commission (EC) that nuclear energy is a clean source, he said.

Babiš expects climate change to impact Czech industries, food self-reliance and overall quality of life. He emphasised that the government considers water retention in the landscape its first public interest.

He added that although the Czech Republic does support the plans for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the country is concerned about the competitiveness of the plan’s impact on its industrial sector.

Babiš said that is why the Czech Republic will want large emitters like China to take the same steps, but will also focus on Turkey, for example, since its steel industry competes with Europe.

The Czech Republic will bear the highest costs of discontinuing coal power since its economy is industry-based, he said.

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That is why the path towards carbon neutrality should be based on a just sharing of impacts and should include a compensatory programme for the effects it may have on the country’s inhabitants.

The UN Climate Change Summit will take place in New York on September 23.

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The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, already called upon the representatives of the attending countries to present ambitious plans for the transformation of energetics, transportation, industry and agriculture.

The international community should reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent before 2030 and reach full carbon neutrality by 2050.

Babiš said that unless China and the US join the struggle, the global carbon neutrality goal is unrealistic.

On Facebook over the weekend, he said Europe is responsible for only 9 percent of the overall air pollution.

“According to the European Commission, the costs of reaching carbon neutrality will reach 4 percent of GDP. For the Czech Republic, it could be four times more due to the structure of its energy and industrial systems. We want to take these facts into account when negotiating about European subsidies,” Babiš said.

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In its report, the UN writes that global emissions are extremely high and there is no sign of them decreasing.

The last four years were the hottest on record and climate change is thus starting to directly impact human lives through water pollution, heat waves and food security risks.

The UN says it is important to shut down the subsidies for fossil fuels and high-emission forms of agriculture, followed by a shift towards renewable energy sources and a quick closing down of coal energy plants as well as preventing the construction of new ones.


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