Commentary Climate change

PM Babiš: I don't want a "climate armageddon"

“The EU climate agreement would seriously damage Czech and European industry. We must not be subject to utopian ideas in the fight against climate change,” writes PM Andrej Babiš.

The below is written by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Recently, I read that my policies will cause a "climate armageddon". And why? Well, because Czechia with its colleagues from Poland, Estonia, and Hungary has preliminarily blocked the EU carbon neutral climate agreement. This agreement states that by 2050, European states are forbidden to emit any greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That sounds great, of course. But the Czech Republic has previously signed the Paris Agreement, which declares that carbon neutrality will be reached by 2100.

The Czech Republic stands behind this agreement as well and implements it. Suddenly, however, someone wants the same thing done by 2050! That would destroy our industry. Does anyone want that? The Czech Republic is the most industrial country in Europe, so it is not fair to compare it to other more service-oriented European countries. That is why we have pre-blocked the agreement.

Carbon Dioxide emissions must be reduced by countries that pollute the environment the most, i.e. the US, China, Russia and India. Europe is almost CO2 emissions-free compared to them! Let´s look at some numbers. In 2018, mankind released 37 billion tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Of this number, the European Union share is only 3.5 billion, i.e. 9 percent. At the same time, the EU has reduced its carbon footprint by 20 million tons of CO2. And do you know what progress the rest of the world has made? Exactly the opposite! Other states emitted 1,020 million tons more CO2! Should we, therefore, continue to reduce Europe's competitiveness by increasingly tougher measures?

At the UN Climate Action Summit set up to take place in New York in September, we must persuade other states to work together on environmental goals. And not to set abstract goals that do not solve anything. By the way, Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, also agrees with my opinion on the climate issue.

Everyone must realize that if Europe, which is relatively clean in terms of emitting greenhouse gases, complies and cuts production, on the other side of the world, someone will take advantage of it and start a business that will damage the planet far more than Europe does.

Do you know what reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 would mean for us, Europeans? Above all, we would have to stop using coal and fossil fuels, both in power plants and in households. However, about 300,000 households are now dependent on coal. We would have to completely electrify railways and public transport. Also, no conventional cars would be allowed on the roads. We would probably have to import electricity and biomass. We would have to reduce meat consumption and change consumer patterns by, for example, reducing food imports, flying and room temperature.

So, as I said, it is clear that we are not prepared for this change which requires huge structural changes in the economy. Thus, we preliminary blocked the carbon neutral climate agreement. We simply want to have a professional debate on a more realistic solution that will not jeopardize the Czech economy, our people's employment and the stability of our country.

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