Prague - Micronesia officially asked the Czech Environment Ministry not to allow the planned modernization of the Prunéřov II coal power plant in north-western Bohemia.
The Pacific island state is worried that Prunéřov, the Czech Republic's largest producer of greenhouse gases owned by Czech energy giant ČEZ, is going to contribute to its gradual disappearance due to global warming-induced sea level rise.
In the letter signed by Adrew Yatilman from the Micronesian Office of Environmental and Emergency Management, Micronesia asks the ministry to "issue a negative final statement on the environmental impact assessment of this plan".
Aktuálně.cz has a copy of the letter.
The Environment Ministry says it will include Micronesia's objection into its final statement on the issue.
First objection of global warming victim
The Czech branch of Greenpeace said that Micronesia's objection is probably the first case of a potential global warming victim using legal methods to influence a foreign greenhouse gases-producing project.
"Although we are aware that greenhouse gases emissions produced solely by the Prunéřov II power plant will not directly cause sea-level rise, change weather patterns and increase storms, there are approximately only five thousand such power plants which contribute to global carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore every single power plant clearly plays an important role and warrants a transboudary impact assessment," says Yatilman.
The island state which reached its independence as recently as in 1986 states that ČEZ is going to use „out-dated technology" that would fail to reach a minimum of 42 percent of net energy efficiency required by both EU and Czech legislation. If modernized according to the plan outlined by ČEZ, Prunéřov will have only 38 percent of net energy efficiency, believes Yatilman.
The letter also says that Prunéřov is the EU's 18th biggest source of greenhouse gases, and it produces 40 times more of carbon dioxide than the entire island state.
Flooded Micronesians or frozen Czechs?
ČEZ argues that it has chosen the most modern and cleanest technology to modernize the plant whose coal supply is secured for another 25 years.
In addition, ČEZ spokesman Ladislav Kříž said that Micronesia does not have the correct figures and the plant's efficiency is going to be higher than the island state believes. „Complying with the Environment Ministry's demand, we and our suppliers have managed to find reserves that enable us to increase the efficiency by one percent more. The efficiency will increase from 32.8 to 39.6 percent, and to 42.55 in heat supply," Kříž said to Aktuálně.cz, adding there is really no space for further efficiency increases.
"If Greenpeace says on Micronesia's behalf that it will vanish, it would be equally 'fair' to say that either Micronesia will sink, or the population of Chomutov, Kadaň or Klášterec (north-western Bohemian cities) will freeze to death," said Kříž. According to him, nearby municipalities expressed consent with the modernization plan which, according to ČEZ, will reduce Prunéřov's exhaustion by tens of percent.
ČEZ also claims that according to its study, the contribution of Prunéřov to global warming is entirely marginal and its effect on developing countries unprovable.