It's a sad day for democracy when a Minister if basically told to choose between representing corporate interests over public interest or resign. This is exactly what happened yesterday to Jan Dusik, (now ex-)Minister of the environment in Czech Republic.
Mr. Dusik received this week a report by an independent consultancy firm on the environmental impacts of a planned new coal power station in Prunerov. The report was quite clear: the plans did not include the best available technology to reduce carbon emissions, and should therefore be rejected. This new plant is also opposed from the other side of the planet by the Federated States of Micronesia. The FSM argues that extending the life of the Prunerov coal plant would fuel climate change which threatens the island nation.
Mr. Dusik was prepared to reject the plans, on the basis of the report, but was then faced by his Prime Minister, who asked him to approve the plans anyway.
All of the above?
Faced with this, Jan Dusik proved to be an ethical and principled man and chose to resign. It's rare to see such a display of ethics coming from government officials, and that makes us all the more sad to see him go. He has our respect for that.
The decision on whether or not to approve the power plan has yet to come. However, we're now very worried that it will be extremely easy for the Prime Minister to put a puppet for CEZ (the utility company trying to build the new plant) in the ministry.
Greenpeace and the Environmental Law Service, a Czech NGO, will keep opposing these irrational plans. We do not need dirty power anymore, the technology to replace coal exists. If only governments started to represent their people over corporate interests, it would be possible to implement them.
Photo: © Greenpeace / Ibra Ibrahimovic