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Environmental impacts

The current global efforts to decrease climatic changes are backed by the 2015 Paris Agreement ratified by 179 countries, including the Czech Republic. Although the Agreement does not define particular greenhouse gas emission limits for the Czech Republic, the Czech energy sector as well as industry must meet specific targets required by EU legislation. EU targets to decrease greenhouse gas emissions are based on the 2020-2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework which defines the pan-European commitment to decrease the GHG emissions by 40% in comparison to 1990.

Reduction in pollutant emissions is globally addressed by the Gothenburg Protocol which sets the limits for SO2, NOx and NH3, VOC and solid particles. The EU has incorporated the protocol requirements into the reviewed Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the reduction in national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants ratified at the end of 2016. This Directive was incorporated into Czech legislation by an amendment to Act No. 201/2012 Coll., on Air Protection, effective from 1stSeptember 2018.


Mid-term horizon

In the mid-term, the EU's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 compared to 2005. In order to achieve this, the EU ETS will be revised for the fourth phase (2021-2030). The revision proposes an increase in the allowance depreciation rate by adjusting the linear reduction factor from 1.74% to 2.2% per year. To remove the current surplus of allowances on the market, since January 1, 2019, an MSR mechanism has been launched to regulate the annual volume of allowances to be auctioned so as to avoid surpluses. Unused auctions that have not been allocated in the given year will be gradually withdrawn into the reserve. For the years 2019 and 2023, the volume of surplus allowances withdrawn from the market should be set at 24% and then at 12% in the Market Stabilization Reserve (MSR). The system will be used if the surplus exceeds the statutory level by about 833 million allowances. From 2023, the number of allowances in the reserve will be limited to the volume of auctions of the previous year.

The Czech Republic has lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by 34%, meeting the 2020 target in advance. At the same time, the EU-wide 2020 target to reduce emissions by 20% compared to 1990 has also been achieved ahead of time. Emissions of pollutants (SO2, NOx, NH3, VOC and SP) in the EU have decreased by 67% since 1990. This trend is likely to continue. In terms of reduction in pollutant emissions, the Czech Republic is even more successful, achieving a decrease by 81% for the same period. The analysed case studies show a substantial drop in the production of emissions immediately after 2020 due to compliance with Directive 2010/75/EU. The individual case studies do not differ in any significant way with respect to emission production up to 2030. In the mid-term horizon, as presented in each of the case studies, greenhouse gas emissions will decrease by 29 to 31%, SOX emissions by 77%, NOX emissions by 63% and SP emissions by 55% (all compared to 2005).  The greenhouse gas emissions balance is shown in the following figure.


Long-term horizon

The period after 2030 sees an additional reduction in all emissions with noticeable differences regarding greenhouse gas emissions observed in the individual case studies. In the Conceptual case study, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 71% compared to 2005 by 2050. The Renewable and Gas case studies, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 68 and 53% respectively (compared to 2005). The highest reduction is achieved in the Conceptual case study, only case study relying on the use of nuclear energy. The Renewable case study paradoxically records higher emissions than the Conceptual, due to the absence of the nuclear energy and the need to use natural gas (for balancing and for operational reasons). However, in the long run, the European Union's energy decarbonisation targets aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 96-99%. Therefore, none of the case studies analysed meets this EU emissions target. If the next generation of electricity is to be developed according to the case studies presented, CCS will need to be introduced to meet the emissions target beyond 2040

Pollutant emissions decrease identically in all case studies up to 2050. SOX emissions will decrease by 93%, NOX emissions by 81 to 84% and SP emissions by 80% (all compared to 2005) by 2050. Reaching emission targets resulting from Directive 2016/2284 / EU, i.e. drop of 60-66% by 2050 compared to 2005 will be feasible in case all studies.

Greenhouse gases emission balance

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