From the top of the chimney stack, in Northern Bohemia, Greenpeace Climate and Energy campaigner Jan Rovensky said: "The Prunerov coal plant is a global shame. Plans to extend its life make a mockery of efforts to protect the environment, people and avoid catastrophic global climate change. It should be shut down by 2015 and replaced with energy efficiency measures and investments in renewable energy. Then the Czech Republic's global shame would become a global example."
Live video from the Chimney Stack can be seen at http://bambuser.com/channel/gpcz
Last Thursday the Czech Environment Minister, Jan Dusik, resigned from government rather than give way to pressure from the plants operator CEZ, and the Prime Minister, to approve an extension to the power plant's operational life.
"The space left by Environment Minister Dusik should not be filled by a CEZ puppet who simply does the bidding of Corporate masters," added Rovensky. However, referring to the recent announcement that the Prime Minister wants to appoint Jakub Sebesta who is the Agriculture Minister to also take on the Environment Ministry Rovensky said "The new minister should reject the plans to expand the coal plant; any other outcome would show that he is simply doing the bidding of CEZ."
Prunerov is the single largest source of Czech carbon emissions and of conventional pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxides. Rather than shut down the plant at the end of its life in 2015, CEZ , one of the world's most profitable energy companies, is pushing to extend its life using inefficient, outdated technology. Czech law obliges companies to use the best available technology (BAT) for projects like this but CEZ has refused. The resulting efficiency deficit will cause an extra half a million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually over the 25 year proposed lifetime of the plant.
There is an ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment process (EIA) on the basis of which the Environment Ministry must rule on the plan . Greenpeace and the Czech advocacy group Environmental Law Service have raised numerous objections to the adverse environmental impacts which CEZ's proposal would cause. Most of these arguments were substantiated by independent consultants Det Norske Veritas (DNV), who were commissioned by the Environment Ministry. DNV presented their conclusions at the press conference on Thursday at which Mr Dusik resigned.
The global significance of the decision has increased due to the participation of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in the transboundary EIA. The FSM government expressed concern that the impacts of climate change had not been taken into consideration. Jan Srytr of Czech NGO Environmental Law Service commented "This is the first time a country vulnerable to climate change has taken steps to address the emissions of a coal-fired power plant in an industrialised country through an EIA process. Other countries should watch the process carefully." Coal is the most climate polluting fuel with an almost 80 % higher CO2 emissions factor than natural gas.
Terapii Williams from the Cook Islands has come to Prunerov to support this action and said "Pacific nations are endangered by the rising sea levels and rising sea temperatures. Our homes are threatened and the marine ecosystems on which we depend are being damaged. The very existence of whole nations and cultures is at stake. If industrialised countries like the Czech Republic continue to fuel climate change, we are doomed. Prunerov is one of Europe's largest sources of CO2. Extending its life for more than a quarter of century with obsolete technology would be a global shame."
Other contacts: Jan Rovenský, Energy and Climate Campaigner
Greenpeace Czech Republic
Tel: +420 723 623 238, e-mail:
Jan Srytr, Lawyer
Environmental Law Service
Tel: +420 775 154 087, email:
Notes:  The EIA decision is not legally binding by the CEZ law, but in fact it is almost impossible for CEZ to proceed with the plan through the planning process with the EIA disapproval. Background briefing: "Legal Request by the Federated States of Micronesia Concerning the Prunerov II Coal-fired Power Plant, Czech Republic" is available for download via the following link: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/teia_fsm