The Czech Republic and three other post-Communist countries voted to stop
the EU from adopting a clear long-term climate neutrality goal at the
summit in Brussels on Thursday evening.
Along with Poland, Hungary and Estonia, the Czech Republic rejected a proposed carbon neutrality target for 2050, arguing against a concrete date. The measure will be taken up again in late October, at a summit that will be Jean-Claude Juncker's last as European Commission president.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said Thursday the EU should rather focus on short-term goals in accordance with the Paris Agreement set for 2030. He said the rejected proposal would endanger the Czech economy and jobs.
A small brewery in the South Bohemian village of Čížová has produced the Czech Republic’s first beer made from recycled, purified wastewater. The water came from a Prague wastewater treatment plant and was processed by experts from the company Veolia. So far, the brewery has rolled out some 15 hectolitres of ‘sewer beer’ under the brand ERKO.
Diplomats, military officers and experts gathered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday to discuss energy security and future challenges facing the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. While discussing what the alliance may be up against 70 years from now, some argued that the impacts of climate change are likely to be the main threat.
The Czech Republic is planning to spend billions in the coming decades on
fighting drought. Speaking on Tuesday after a meeting of the National
Coalition to Combat Drought, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said CZK 24
billion would be invested into connecting different water supply systems.
The state will also spend CZK 6 billion on renewing mains pipelines.
The minister of the environment, Richard Brabec, said further money could be drawn from EU funds and that a total of around CZK 50 billion would be invested.
Mr. Babiš said the prognosis was not good and this year could be the sixth in succession in which the country experiences drought. He said solving water shortages was the most pressing challenge facing his government.
Year-on-year water consumption among Czechs has risen to 133.5 litres a day
per person, the Czech Statistics Agency reports. Household consumption has
gone up to 89.2 litres per person. The highest water consumption is
registered among households in Prague, where it lies at 107 litres per
Data shows that water use has been increasing among Czech households for years. Meanwhile, farmers are expecting low yields as extreme drought is reported to have spread across 30 percent of the country.
However, statistics show that the current levels of water consumption are still well below the common rates registered in the 1980s, when 170 litres were used up on a daily basis per person.
The current dry weather in the Czech Republic is facilitating the reproduction of the bark beetle, which destroys spruce trees. Indeed, the voracious insect began swarming a week earlier this year than in 2018, which saw the most costly bark beetle infestation in this part of the world for a full two centuries.
Czech firefighters have had to deal with nearly 1700 fires since the
beginning of April, a spokeswoman for the Czech Fire Rescue Service said on
Thursday. In April, they were called to assist in 98 fires a day, which is
two times the average. Eight people died as a result of the fires and 71
Fires out in the open prevail these days and are mainly caused by people’s negligence as well as the unseasonably hot and dry weather. Ahead of the Easter weekend, firefighters have warned that burning garden waste and old grass is prohibited by law.
On the eve of World Water Day, which falls on March 22, the Czech branch of the environmental organisation Greenpeace published an alarming report on the presence of micro-plastics in Czech rivers. According to the study, plastic fibres were found in all ten samples taken from the Vltava and Elbe Rivers. I asked Jan Freidinger of Greenpeace for more details:
Nine out of ten samples of water from the Vltava and Elbe rivers contain
micro-plastics, the environmental organisation Greenpeace said on Thursday.
The samples were taken last September in Prague, Ústí nad Labem and
Hřensko and sent for analysis in a Greenpeace lab in Britain’s Exeter.
The highest concentration of micro-plastics was recorded in the water released by the water treatment plant in Neštěmice on the Elbe River. The average concentration of micro-plastics, 3.7 particles per litre, corresponds with the results from similar studies abroad.