Courts to Decide the Future of the Czech Climate Change Policy: Preparation of the First Czech Climate Litigation
By Zuzana Vrbová
Published 17. 09. 2020
Almost a year and a half ago, a group of concerned citizens decided to establish an association called Climate Action (in Czech: 'Klimatická žaloba'). Its main objective is to prepare and file a petition (administrative action) with the court, which should then decide whether the Czech Government is doing enough to fulfill the ultimate objectives of the Paris Agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Following lawsuits in the Netherlands and, more recently, Ireland, the Czech Republic will then be another country with its own a climate change litigation case. Climate litigation has grown in importance, especially over the past decade.
The Association was registered in spring 2019 and currently has around 150 associates. In order to file the petition, Klimatická žaloba approached an established environmental law firm, Frank Bold, which conducted an analysis regarding the lawsuit’s prospects. A year later, in spring 2020, the work on the draft petition began. Read more
Preparation of the new Czech Building Act causing outrage in green circles
By Hana Müllerová
Published 30. 08. 2020
On 24 August, the Czech Government pushed through the draft new Czech Building Act that now moves to the Parliament. The new legislation is to replace the law in force of 2006. The main aim of the recodification is to simplify and speed up the planning and building permitting processes. Due to an international comparison report in 2019, the periods in Czechia usually needed before construction work can begin, covering spatial planning processes and permit procedures, are extraordinarily long, placing the country in the 156th position out of 190. In ordinary cases, handling the building permit can take up to five years, while for big transport infrastructure constructions it can last over ten years. The causes lie in a combination of factors, including extensive, complicated and often-changing legislation (there have been more than 20 amendments to the Building Act since its adoption in 2006), inadequate resources in public administration (personnel, financial, expertise) and high demand for building new premises, both dwelling and commercial. Read more
The Czech Government to Compensate Big Industries for Higher Electricity Prices Caused by the Climate Measures – a Vicious Circle of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme
By Zuzana Vrbová
Published 15. 07. 2020
The Czech Republic has to protect its industry, no matter what it costs. For a long time, this has been the Czech politicians’ rhetoric with regard to ever-tightening environmental regulation. During the Covid-19 crisis, concerns about the future of domestic industry grew even more. It is probably no coincidence that, during that time, the Czech Ministry of the Environment produced two legislative proposals providing financial support to some Czech industrial sectors. However, state aid will only be provided to the biggest enterprises.
Not only electricity and heat producers have lately been concerned about the rising price of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) allowance. The system was introduced by the European EU ETS Directive 2003/87/EC (‘EU ETS Directive’). It is one of the main EU climate policy instruments; its purpose is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a market mechanism. Read more
A new wave of solar disputes on the Czech horizon?
By Monika Feigerlová
Published 18. 06. 2020
On 27 April 2020 the Czech government approved a draft bill amending the Act on Promoted Energy Sources (Act no. 165/2012 Coll). If approved by Parliament, the proposed amendments that are planned to take effect from 1 January 2021 will bring significant changes to the support provided by the State to producers of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES). The proposal would primarily affect support for photovoltaic installations, which, according to the statement of the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, will bring savings of up to ten billion Czech crowns. Read more
Czech climate policies: are they enough?
By Zuzana Vrbová
Published 02. 03. 2020
The Czech Republic is currently experiencing the consequences of climate change on an unprecedented scale – an increasing number of extreme weather events, such as droughts, heat waves and floods, to which climate change contributes, has over time become a regular annual occurrence. The Czech Republic is located in Central Europe with a population of 10.5 million. The average annual temperature has risen by 0.8 °C in the last 50 years and it is expected that it will grow further by approximately 0.24 °C every 10 years. The frequency of the summer and tropical days increased over the previous decade as well. Regarding water sources, the country is fully dependent on precipitation, since there are no rivers entering the country from neighbouring states. Changes in rainfall patterns cause ongoing long-term droughts and impair water retention in the soil. Partly because of these facts, Czech society is becoming increasingly interested in climate change issues. Greater media coverage and student protests also play an important role in building public opinion. According to the April 2019 Eurobarometer 71% of Czech respondents consider climate change Read more
The Centre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies Launched
By Hana Müllerová
Published 27. 02. 2020
There has been a long tradition of environmental law studies in Czech legal scholarship. The branch was established as soon as it was made possible after the 1989 breakdown of the communist regime (which had side-lined environmental protection as incompatible with centrally planned economic development). In the 1990s, several key environmental laws were prepared and approved, some of them even in force to this day. I remember the first Czech environmental law textbook of 1995 that I used during my Master’s studies: it was a thin paperback containing the texts of the fundamental environmental laws, with an introductory chapter explaining the main terms, principles and rules of the new field. Since then, the branch has consolidated and increased in both quantity and structure, partly due to implementing EU environmental legislation. However, in the last few years, climate change has posed qualitatively new challenges that may only be partially covered by environmental legislation, whether at the national, EU or international level. Environmental laws do not appear to offer the complete range of suitable instruments to tackle the complex issues that climate change presents to society.
It seems that the 1990s’ situation regarding environmental law is now present in climate law. At the theoretical level, climate law has not yet been considered a separate law branch in the Czech legal scholarship. Read more
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