Prague - On Tuesday, Environment Minister Martin Bursík signed a memorandum of understanding with Hideaki Kumazawou, Japanese Ambassador to the Czech Republic. That enables the Czech Republic to start trading with its "clean air" and earn dozens of billions of crowns.
How is that possible? The Czech Republic does not have any difficulties to fulfill the Kyoto Protocol in which developed countries committed to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.
The Czech Republic even exceeds its commitment. Countries that have a similar reserve can sell their saved exhaustion to countries that have been unable to fulfill their commitment.
One of those countries is Japan that now wants to buy the saved carbon dioxide in the Czech Republic.
"This memorandum was a basic requirement of the Japanese side for their future purchase of emission units," Jakub Kašpar, spokesperson for the Environment Ministry said.
5 billion worth of clean environment
How many emission units the Japanese state actually buys is up to further discussions. The Czech Republic has 150 million units available while Japan needs more than one billion units.
Besides Japan, the Czech government has held talks with Spain, Austria and New Zealand. Another option would be that the Czech Republic sells its units in an auction.
Environment Ministry plans to sell two thirds of its free units and keep the rest as a reserve.
"In general, we would like to sell most of our emission units in an auction because their price might be higher due to competition," said Environment Minister Martin Bursík. His Ministry hopes to sign the first agreements this year.
The profit might reach CZK 25 billion depending on the market price. Environment Ministry plans to invest the money in building insulation and clean heating.
"We are currently drafting a grant program that would support energy savings, usage of renewable natural resources for heating and hot water in apartments and family houses," Jakub Kašpar said.
Czech Republic among the worst
Paradoxically, the Czech Republic is one of the worst polluters in Europe when counted per capita.
Based on the recent report by European Commission, the Czech Republic is the fourth worst of 27 European countries. Only Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg are doing worse, while Luxembourg is the European greenhouse record breaker if compared with the number of inhabitants.
In Kyoto, the Czech Republic committed together with the entire European Union to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by eight percent between 2012 and 1990. But due to the decrease of industry production, that was a piece of cake. Today, the emissions are 24 percent lower than in 1990.
"The Czech Republic has been fulfilling its commitments set by the Kyoto protocol with a cushion," the Report on the environment conditions informed about 1997. The Czech government will soon have the report available.
Cars and airplanes cause troubles
The same report points out that the emission has been growing slowly in the last couple of years. The main problem is transportation - both automobile and air transportation.
"The emissions stopped decreasing in 2005 when a slow increase started. This negative trend is caused mainly by growing emissions caused by the transportation," the report states.
While the share of emissions caused by transportation reached four percent of the entire amount of emission in 1990, today it accounts for almost 13 percent.
Just the air transportation by itself has a four times larger performance that in 1989.