The Czech branch of Extinction Rebellion has joined a wave of climate protests organised by the environmental group around the world. Protests calling on politicians to take urgent action on climate change began in Prague on Thursday and will culminate on Saturday with a demonstration and a traffic blockade on Wenceslas Square.
Andrej Babiš highlighted environmental issues in an address to the UN General Assembly, saying the fact many states don’t fulfill their climate change commitments makes it harder for those that do to provide livelihoods for their citizens. The prime minister also referred to the Czech Republic’s recent past and plans for the future.
The Czech Republic wants to become a leader in innovation and artificial
intelligence, and a country that would set example for others, Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš said in his address to the 74th session of the
United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, New York time.
Mr Babiš said that the Czech Republic was fulfilling the commitments
stemming from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, adding that the changes had
to be gradual in order not to harm the country’s economic growth.
In his speech, Mr Babiš called for a strong European Union, which he described as the most successful peaceful project in the world. He said, however, that he had reservations about its engagement in the world.
Mr Babiš also criticised the speech of the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, calling it aggressive and hysterical.
Hundreds of young people gathered on Prague’s Old Town Square and in many
other Czech towns and cities on Friday joining the international climate
change protests launched by the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
The student gathering then marched through the centre of Prague, marking the start of a week of events aiming to draw attention to the problem.
On Friday afternoon a festival For the Future will take place on Střelecký Island in Prague with live music and environment-related presentations and debates.
The Czech prime minister says it is necessary to deal with the issue of
climate change rationally, not to combat it in the manner of a fanatical
religion. Andrej Babiš is due to attend the United Nations Climate Action
Summit in New York next week. Speaking in Prague on Tuesday, he said the
Czech Republic was committed to net-zero carbon emissions. However, related
economic changes need to be effective in terms of cost and fair when it
comes to sharing the burden among states, he said.
Mr. Babiš told MPs at a conference at the Czech lower house that there was no need to exaggerate the issue by saying climate change would mean people wouldn’t have children or would become vegetarians. He reiterated that the Czech Republic regards nuclear power as the way forward.
The arrival of cooler weather has led to the “heating season” beginning
in some parts of the Czech Republic. Temperatures fell to as low as nine
degrees Celsius in some places on Monday, with particularly low
temperatures registered in the Ore (Krušné) Mountains. This has led to
the municipal heating being turned on after a break of several months in a
number of spots, such as in Ostrov in the Karlovy Vary Region.
Some of the low temperatures recorded on Monday are not usually seen until the end of September.
A meteorologist at a station in Šindelová in the Karlovy Vary Region said that such a dramatic turn in the weather was only seen once every eight or 10 years.
This summer was the hottest in 58 years, with average temperatures of 19.5
degrees Celsius, some 2.5 degrees above the norm for June through August.
The month of June in particular was hotter than usual, by some 5 degrees Celsius, according to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (ČHMÚ).
Over the summer, more than 30 “tropical days”, that is with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, were recorded, at 17 different measuring stations.
Another long-term drought could cost the Czech economy up to 80 billion crowns, equivalent to a drop of 1.6 percentage points in GDP, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Life Sciences warn that in order to conserve water for essential use, key industries would be forced to cut production, adding an exponential ripple effect to the surface-level economic impact.
New research by scientists from the Water, Soil and Landscape Centre at the
Czech University of Life Sciences suggests that another long-term spell of
drought would result in an CZK 80 billion contraction of the Czech economy.
Aside from financial effects, drought would also have an impact on
population health and the environment. At a press conference on Wednesday
the team suggested spending CZK 25 billion annually on preventative
Researchers presented two scenarios of how the economy could be impacted by further droughts.
One scenario envisions a 25 percent decrease in the productivity of industries, such as textile or paper production, which are dependent on water supplies. In this case the economy would face a production capability decline between 0.9 to 1.6 percent of GDP.
The second scenario, counts on a 50 percent decrease that would cut production down by 2.8 to 4.8 percent of GDP.