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What is CU Environment Centre

The Charles University Environment centre, was founded as a part of Charles University in 1992. It conducts environmental research and provides environmental expertise and information for students, university staff and for the general public. The centre collaborates with parliamentary bodies, state administration, non-government organizations and many academic and research institutions both locally and abroad. CUEC consists of the three units: sustainable development indicators, environmental economics, and education and information for sustainable development.

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CeciliaAlthough the Czech Republic is on track to decarbonise,the concrete pathways need further examination and public discussion, in order to finish preparation of Czech Climate Mitigation Policy, and most importantly to ensure successful implementation of the 2050 low-carbon roadmap and deep decarbonisation. Workshop of the FP7 project CECILIA2050 contributed to this discussion with presentations on climate change policy options and modelling approaches to explore the impacts of decarbonisation pathways.

Although the Czech Republic is on track to decarbonise,the concrete pathways need further examination and public discussion, in order to finish preparation of Czech Climate Mitigation Policy, and most importantly to ensure successful implementation of the 2050 low-carbon roadmap and deep decarbonisation. Workshop of the FP7 project CECILIA2050 contributed to this discussion with presentations on climate change policy options and modelling approaches to explore the impacts of decarbonisation pathways.

Henri Waissman
Henri Waisman speaking at the workshop in Prague on 27 October 2017 (picture: J.-F. Auger)

 The Czech Republic is on track to meet its Kyoto protocol and the European Union's 20% emissions reduction target by 2020”, said Pavel Zámyslický from the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic. This statement set the tone of the workshop on pathways to deep decarbonisation, which has been held at Charles University in Prague on 27th of October 2015. The workshop concluded the project CECILIA2050 in the Czech Republic.

The aim of this project was, among others, to identify efficient climate policies in sight of the targets to be achieved in the European Union (EU) by 2050. For this purpose, it evaluated several economic instruments. It included the elaboration of different pathways to effectively reach decarbonisation, that is, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

On the concept of deep decarbonisation, “We cannot talk about implementing marginal transformation,” said Henri Waisman from IDRI. “We are talking about important structural transformations.” The result of deep decarbonisation might be roughly two tons of CO2 emissions or less per inhabitant at the end of 2050 period.

Policies for decarbonisation

The Czech Republic adopted policies on climate change in 2004 and on sustainable development in 2010. Pavel Zámyslický introduced Climate Protection Policy that is planned to be presented to Czech government in the first quarter of 2016. The Czech Republic has been participating in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS) and the goal should be to achieve the emission reduction objectives of the EU for years 2020 and 2030 in a cost-effective way. The expected result will be an estimated 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2050, Pavel Zámyslický pointed out.

Energy efficiency programs contribute to decarbonisation. Jiří Karásek from SEVEn said that key-measures are the EU directives on this topic, regulations, such as the building code, and consumer information programs. Besides, he pointed to important ongoing initiatives. EKOenergy provides subsidy for renewable energy production. The Building Observatory collects data on energy in buildings. Finally, the implementation of Article 7 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive poses several challenges.

Energy efficiency in the industrial sector represents “a huge challenge for the Czech Republic,” said Peter J. Kalaš from the Ministry of Environment. Among other measures, the Czech Republic has to reduce electricity generation from coal-fired power plants. It has to facilitate the growing decentralization of energy production, and finally, it has to implement programs to reduce the intensity of energy consumption.

Models to guide the pathway

Policymakers rely on models to elaborate decarbonisation policies. The United Kingdom has developed a pathway calculator that has been calibrated to work for the Czech Republic. “The aim of the Czech calculator is to support the development of concepts and strategies of energy production and use,” said Jiří Spitz, from the company ENVIROS, which adapted the model. The Ministry of Environment uses the calculator to explore technological options and to understand the complexity of interactions between policies.

Another model, TIMES-CZ, is also an adaptation of a generic Pan-European energy system model to the Czech Republic. Meant to capture the complexity of a given energy system, this model includes fuel extraction, energy transformation and its use by households, commercial and transport sectors. Lukáš Rečka from the Charles University explained: “We can use this model for coherent modelling framework to asses the impacts of changes in exogenous parameters or policy scenarios on various economic-energy-environmental variables.”

Potential of production of renewable energy has been also discussed. The potential of the renewables appears to be higher than official calculations, according to Štěpán Chalupa from the Renewable Energy Association. The Association has mapped out the potential for energy production using solar panels and windmills in the Czech Republic up to 2050. If official scenarios have a balanced vision of renewable energy production and consumption, maximum potential of renewablescan be exploited.

Sixteen countries are working on country-specific models for deep decarbonisation. “Deep decarbonisation is country specific for the strategies, the technologies and sequences,” said Waisman, the director of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project. The country teams participating in the project maintain a dashboard that is specific to their country, because there are no generic pathways to deep decarbonisation. The Czech specialists are welcome to join the efforts of this international group in near future.

People and decarbonisation

The Czechs prefer the target of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to less-ambitious targets, according to the results of a national questionnaire survey presented by Iva Zvěřinová from the Charles University. Willingness to pay for emissions reduction is related to the type of proposed policy instruments - the Czechs prefer energy standards and subsidies more than taxes to achieve decarbonisation. However, if well combined with other instruments, the acceptability of carbon taxes can be increased (e.g. taxes on energy and emissions in combination with subsidies for energy savings or removal of harmful subsidies were preferred options). Moreover, cost distribution and earmarking of possible revenues matter. People would like to distribute costs of the policies based on actual emissions and the revenues should be spent on environmental programs, on reducing other taxes, or on public services.

Czech households represent an important sector for decarbonisation. Jan Weinzetell from the Charles University reported on a study that combines a consumer expenditure survey by the Czech Statistical Office and an environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output model to reveal which category of household consumption emits the most carbon dioxide as well as air quality pollutants.

European policies

EU policies for decarbonisation have been discussed. According to Jiři Feist from EP Energy, “There are too many goals in the EU.” This creates a difficult climate for investment in the energy industry in face of political instability, he concluded. Ondřej Boreš from the Czech energy company ČEZ pointed out that it was important to reform the EU ETS to impose carbon pricing.

The project CECILIA2050 (Choosing Efficient Combinations of Policy Instruments for Low-carbon development and Innovation to Achieve Europe's 2050 climate targets) has systematically studied economic instruments, which are used in the climate policy mix, and their effects on a set of European countries. Milan Ščasný from the Charles University and the organizer of the workshop presented the lessons from this project. First, the climate policy mix is not well balanced. There is room for improvement for example in the area of infrastructure choices, electricity market design and incentives for innovation. In this respect, Milan Ščasný proposed: “We cannot afford not to use market-based mechanisms and pricing tools.However, to exploit the full potential of economic instruments, we need: a) a higher carbon price, and b) to overcome constraints (e.g. access to finance, transaction cost), remove distortions, and create broad acceptance.”

 Milan Ščasný summarized the results from the project CECILIA2050 with these important conclusions:

Lessons from climate policies in Europe

1. The climate policy mix is not well balanced.
2. Carbon pricing tools work, but they are not exploiting their full potential.
3. Markets have worked very effectively as a tool for climate policy.
4. There is plenty of diversity in European climate policies.
5. Fears of negative impacts of climate policies have not materialized.

Improvements to European climate policies

1. The design of individual instruments must become smarter.
2. Sound infrastructure choices must be made under uncertainty.
3. A new electricity market design, including greater interconnection of national grids to complete the single market, to be implemented by 2030.
4. Key market distortions must be tackled or their effects reduced.
5. Incentives for innovation, and targeted funding to support it, must be stepped up.
6. Existing information instruments should be improved and introduced where their potential has been thus far underexploited.
7. A meaningful carbon price must be established.

Insights from the project

1. We cannot afford not to use market-based mechanisms and pricing tools.
2. There is a lot that carbon pricing can do — but also a lot that it cannot do.
3. Combining policy instruments is inevitable — not a choice of one versus another.
4. We will not get around picking winners.

For further information, see http://cecilia2050.eu

Presentations

(1) “Climate change mitigation policy in the Czech Republic” by Pavel Zámyslicky (Ministry of Environment, Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic has implemented a set of policies for a sustainable development of its economy since 2010. The presentation reviews challenges and goals in sight of a new climate protection policy by 2016. 
Presentation

(2) “Energy efficiency as instrument of decarbonization in the Czech Republic” by Jiří Karásek (SEVEn)
Energy efficiency, especially in industrial, transport and household sectors, can contribute to decarbonisation. This presentation reviews the challenges for the implementation of an energy efficiency policy.
Presentation

(3) “Carbon emission calculator” by Jiří Spitz (ENVIROS)
The pathway calculator of the United Kingdom has been adapted to work for the Czech Republic. Using data for year 2010, it displays effects of pathways on emissions, costs etc., depending of the technological, economic and policy parameters that a user set.
Presentation

(4) “Carbon footprint of household consumption: Environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output analysis: a note” by Jan Weinzetell, Radomír Mach, Milan Ščasný (Charles University)
Which category of consumption has the highest carbon footprint and which category of households are responsible for them? To answer this question authors use an original method that combines the national consumption expenditure survey and an environmentally-extended multi-regional input-output model.
Presentation

(5) “Decarbonization strategy for the Czech Republic” by Peter J. Kalaš (Ministry of Environment, Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic has committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 20 % compared with 1990 levels by 2020. The speech identified the areas of actions that the Czech government prioritizes.

(6) “Elaborating and analyzing country-level deep decarbonization trajectories: Lessons from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways project” by Henri Waisman (IDDRI)
The project Deep Decarbonization Pathways develops scenarios for decarbonization tailored to specific circumstances of countries. It combines the results from 16 countries to produce a global, synthetic view.
Presentation

(7) “Modelling decarbonization pathways for the Czech energy system” by Lukáš Rečka and Milan Ščasný (Charles University)
The TIMES-CZ model is a technology-rich partial equilibrium model thatcombines a technical engineering approach and an economic approach to capture the complexity of the energy system. In this presentation, it is applied to assess the impacts of the
‘breaking’ of the territorial brown coal mining limits in the Czech Republic.
Presentation

(8) “The potential of renewable energy” by Štěpán Chalupa (Renewable Energy Association)
The Czech Republic has a higher potential for the production of renewable energy than what it is officially acknowledged. This presentation unveils the quantity of energy that solar and wind facilities can potentially produce over time.
Presentation

(9) “Acceptability of climate change mitigation policies: What do people think?” by Iva Zvěřinová, Eva Kyselá and Milan Ščasný (Charles University)
Many Czechs are willing to pay to achieve decarbonisation; but, as far as policy instruments are concerned, people tend to dislike new taxes. To a certain degree, this can be remedied by combining the instruments. This presentation summarizes empirical results obtained from a recent survey of the Czech population.
Presentation

(10) “Key insights from the CECILIA 2050 project” by Milan Ščasný (Charles University)
The project CECILIA 2050 has notably analysed the socio-economic effects of selected climate policies through economic modelling. This presentation summarized the lessons learned from the performance of existing climate policy instruments in the EU and recommendations how EU climate policy could be improved. 
Presentation