The climate plan of Prague in Glasgow surprised. Other countries had no idea it existed
Prague participated in the COP climate conference, which took place in Glasgow this year. What were your intentions?
We mainly brought our Climate Plan there. We approved it this year. This is based on our commitment from the intergovernmental panel that followed the Paris Agreement. So we reduce CO emissions2 by 2030 by 45 percent.
What was the participants’ reaction to the plan?
He was perceived very well. The Czech Republic is perceived as very critical because of Andrej Babiš. They were surprised that Prague has a climate plan at all. Even in connection with the fact that we are very unique in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. Not only do we have a strategy under the climate plan, but we also have concrete measures there. There are a total of 69. Some are larger, some are smaller. But of course the long-term ones are harder to work with. For example, the project that attracted attention at the conference was set up by the Prague Solar Power Plant, where we want to install 20,000 roofs with photovoltaic panels by 2030.
Who did you deal with in Glasgow?
We had important meetings with the Deputy Mayor of London, with whom we have already seen online this year. I personally met with the Deputy Mayor for the Environment of Vienna, which is our nearest partner city. At the same time, we saw the square from Paris. We have also invited our partner cities to the so-called climate talks, which we would like to see in Prague next September as part of the European Presidency.
Can you tell me exactly what you are talking about? How is Prague doing in the context of European cities?
The pan-European problem is, of course, transport. We plan intensive greening of traffic. This means the construction of charging stations, the construction of a new metro line D and new tram lines. By 2030, we should have up to 75 percent of all bus fleets such as electric buses or trolleybuses. So we are definitely far ahead in the electromobility and the plans we have.
Can you compare the plans with, for example, Paris or Vienna?
For example, London and Paris, which are constantly exposed to major congestion, there is a very difficult situation there and they cannot deal with it at all. London has even introduced a toll. We flirt here, but we know we need to find people some alternatives. We probably cooperate the most with Vienna. It is really far ahead, for example in the circular economy. We go there to see what a biogas plant, which we also want to build here, looks like. I would say that Vienna is probably closest to us, and it also gives us the most helping hand.
You said that Prague is in electromobility first, can you say what exactly?
That is clearly not the case, but 75 percent of electric buses in public transport are a big step forward. It will cost a lot of money. We have about a thousand to a thousand hundred buses. Abroad, they have started with similar things before, but as a result, they have a partial gas fleet, and that is fossil fuel. We have never had gas buses in Prague and today we know that we will not even have them anymore and that we will follow the path of electromobility. Within the Czech Republic or Central Europe, we certainly certainly form opinions and opinions, but we are often behind in comparison with foreign cities. That’s why we go there to be inspired.
And what inspired you to the summit?
Specifically, we connect things with Budapest or Paris, for example, when we talk about photovoltaics. We solve, for example, how to settle photovoltaics even where it is problematic from the point of view of monument protection. Because it’s clear he won’t say it at the Eiffel Tower in Paris either. And they have exactly the same problem in Budapest. That’s why we told them that we wanted us to come to climate talks in September and we invited them to Prague.
Is the main result of the Prague meeting in Glasgow that individual representatives of European cities gather in Prague?
Of course, you can say that too. But the fact that we brought the Climate Plan there as the voice of the Czech Republic, that we perceive the issue of climate, that Prague has a climate plan and wants to follow this path was a very strong message. Therefore, the other participants met with us. Of course, if you take London, which has a population of 10 million, it will inspire Prague less than mine. And it’s pretty similar in Paris. These are states and cities that have had some continuity. We have been going in the opposite direction for forty years and now we have to catch up. And that’s because we have to convince people that it’s good for them. And that our economy and the risks associated with the Green Deal are also huge opportunities.
On subsidies, to speed it up. This is necessary now that the price of energy is constantly rising. The price of coal and the price of emission allowances are also rising. If we do nothing to support coal-fired boilers here, there will be a fall in 2033-2038, when the coal commission wants coal mining and the use of coal for energy to end. Because we will have no money for restructuring and people will not be prepared to have to start working in some other fields and industries. I mean, for example, northern Bohemia and northern Moravia. If we have projects ready now and receive European funds that we will be able to use, the economy will be gradually restructured. And that is what we need to deal with Europe and we are also dealing with it.
How did you get to the climate conference?
We flew to Edinburgh, then we took the train. It makes sense, you would take the train there for two days. I don’t think such things are wrong. There is no need for people to reduce their own comfort or it costs more money. The only need in your daily life may be that some in consumer behavior do differently. As a city politician, I see that we can install the alternative for them.