X. GREENHOUSE GASES EMISSIONS
The climate system of the Earth is influenced by a great many human activities, where the predominant role in climate change is attributed to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, which exacerbate the “greenhouse” effect. The most serious consequences of progressive climate changes include an increasing frequency extreme climatic events (floods, droughts, windstorms), rising sea levels, decreasing availability of drinking water, desertification, reduction of biodiversity, etc. Even under the conditions in the Czech Republic, advancing climate change is apparent in increased frequency of floods and extreme temperatures.
At the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janiero (Brazil) in 1992, the Framework Convention on Climate Change (hereinafter the “Convention”) was formulated, which entered into force in 1994. The basic objective of the Convention was to create preconditions for timely stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interference of anthropogenic effects with the climate system. The parties to the Convention meet each year at a Conference of Parties, review the accomplished progress and, as appropriate, approve strategies to achieve the set objectives.
However, in 1995 it was already obvious that the not specificly defined commitments of the Convention would have insufficient global effect. Consequently, negotiations were commenced to strengthen the joint response to climate change and, two years later, in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol (KP) was adopted as an amendment to the UN Convention on Climate Change at the Third Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention in Kyoto (Japan). The Kyoto Protocol also introduced its own system of conferences to review implementation of its commitments; however, because the member states are also Parties to the Convention, the Conferences of Parties to the Convention and to KP take place simultaneously.
The Kyoto Protocol required that developed countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions individually or jointly during the first review period (2008–2012) in an overall volume of at least 5.2% compared to conditions in 1990. This reduction is related to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), partly fluorinated hydrofluorocarbons (HFC's) and completely fluorinated perfluorocarbons (PFC's) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), expressed in the form of aggregate CO2 emissions. For the Czech Republic, this corresponded to a commitment to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 8% compared to the reference year of 1990 (1995 was set as the reference year for HFC's, PFC's and SF6).
As part of the 21th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in 2015 in Paris, the so-called Paris agreement was reached. This agreement governs the basic principles of measures for the protection of the climate that should be implemented after the year 2020, when the agreement is presumed to come into force.
In December of 2012, the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP-18) in Doha (Qatar) adopted an amendment confirming the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol with a second commitment period of eight years (2013–2020). In the context of the second period, some of the countries agreed to accept new reduction commitments which should contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 18% below the 1990 level. The reduction commitment for the Czech Republic was set at 20%; the European Union will meet its commitment in relation to the KP within Community.
The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the Convention. This agreement outlines the basic principles of measures to protect the climate that should be implemented after 2020, when it is expected to enter into force.
The European Union is simultaneously engaged in both reducing emissions and in finding ways to adapt to climate change. The EU and its then 28 Member States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 1990 and even offered to increase its commitment to 30% if the other major global economies also adopted stricter commitments. However, reduction by 20% corresponds to the target formulated in the relevant EU regulations adopted in the framework of the climate and energy package of 2009. Amongst other things, the climate and energy package contains a Directive amending and extending the European Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS). In May of 2013, the text of new Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No 525/2013, on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and for reporting other information at the national and Union level relevant to climate change, was adopted.
One of the basic requirements of the Convention, KP and other potential amendments consists in timely, transparent, consistent and systematic, internationally comparable monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. In the Czech Republic, the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for correct functioning of the national inventory system. The Ministry has authorised CHMI to coordinate preparation of the inventory and of the required data and text outputs, which are published on the Convention website (http://unfccc.int) together with the outputs from all the other member states.
Results of National GHG Inventory
In 2017, a number of recalculations were performed to assist in refining the calculations of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. In a number of cases, these were requirements specified in an inspection by the Convention authorities, which took place in September of 2016.
Total greenhouse gas emissions, including removals, from the Land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF), expressed in equivalents of carbon dioxide (CO2 eq.), decreased in the Czech Republic from 191.5 mil. tons in 1990 to 121.3 mil. tons in 2015 (Table X.1, Table X.2). Emissions (without LULUCF) decreased from 197.9 mil. tons to 127.9 mil. tons, corresponding to a decreased of 35% compared to the reference year of 1990. Thus, the Czech Republic has fulfilled its commitment following from KP to reduce emissions by 2012 to reduce emissions by 8% compared to the reference year.
The inventory also contains HFC's, PFC's and SF6 emissions (i.e. substances containing fluorine, termed F-gases), which are also covered by KP. They currently constituted 2.8% of the total greenhouse gases emissions in CR in 2015. The fraction of CO2 emissions in total greenhouse gas emissions (without LULUCF) in 2015 equalled 81.6%, the fraction of CH4 emissions equalled 10.8% and that of N2O emissions equalled 4.8%.
More detailed information on greenhouse gas emissions or removals in the Czech Republic can be found on the CHMI website (www.chmi.cz) or the National Inventory Report of the Czech Republic (ČHMÚ 2017). Analogous information from all the EU countries is regularly collected and published by EEA in the form of reports (Annual European Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990–2015 and 2015 Inventory Report, EEA 2017) and also in the interactive internet database (www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps).
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas. In most developed countries it makes the greatest contribution to aggregate national emissions. In 2015, this fraction equalled 80.5% in the Czech Republic (including LULUCF). CO2 emissions are derived mainly from combustion of fossil fuels; other important contributing processes include desulphurisation, decomposition of carbonates in production of lime, cement and glass, and metallurgical and chemical production. Emissions and removal (CO2 absorption) take place in the LULUCF sector and removal in forest management still predominate. The removal or capture of CO2 in industrial processes is not currently registered in the Czech Republic. Combustion of solid fuels and, to a lesser degree, liquid and gaseous fuels makes the greatest contribution to carbon dioxide emissions from combustion processes in the Czech Republic.
CO2 emissions decreased by 37.4% between 1990 and 2015 (Fig. X.1), with the greatest contribution particularly from a decrease in the Energy – Manufacturing Industries sector and Other (households, institutions and services) sector. The reduction in emissions from combustion in the Manufacturing Industries sector at the beginning of the 1990's was caused by the cut-back and restructuring of some branches of industry; savings and the introduction of new technologies caused a reduction in emissions towards the end of this period. The reduction in emissions in the Other sector can be attributed to more economical energy use (increasing energy efficiency, especially thermal insulation of buildings, and more economical energy use). The Transport sector exhibits the opposite trend; emissions from this sector have increased more than two-fold (2.3 times) since 1990 as a consequence of general trends in transport and especially in individual automobile transport and highway freight transport. The trend in the decreasing fraction of solid fuels and increase in the fraction of natural gas and, since 2003, the use of biomass have had a favourable impact on CO2 emissions. However, the price of gas increased substantially after 2006, leading to conversion to the use of other kinds of fuel in some locations.
Anthropogenic methane (CHsub>4) emissions in the Czech Republic are derived mainly from the mining, treatment and distribution of fuels; these types of emissions are classified as fugitive emissions (emissions freely escaping into the atmosphere). Animal breeding, anaerobic decomposition of biological waste in landfills and wastewater treatment are further important sources of CHsub>4 emissions. In the breeding of animals, this gas is generated in digestive processes (especially in cattle) and in decomposition of excrement of animal origin.
Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas from the viewpoint of production in the Czech Republic, contributing 11% to total aggregate greenhouse gas emissions (including LULUCF) in 2015. CH4 emissions were reduced by 43% in the 1990–2015 period (Fig. X.2), particularly as a consequence of reduction of coal mining and livestock numbers and, to a lesser degree, by reduced solid fuel consumption in households. The increase in emissions in the Waste sector was reduced by utilisation of landfill gases and biogas for energy production purposes.
The greatest amounts of emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) are derived from agricultural activities, especially denitrification of nitrogen added to the soil in the form of artificial fertilizers or organic material. The production of nitric acid and, to a lesser degree, Transport (automobiles with catalytic converters) are also important sources.
The contribution of N2O to total aggregate emissions of greenhouse gases decreased by approx. 5% in 2015. There was a reduction in N2O emissions by 43% in the 1990–2015 period (Fig. X.3), particularly as a consequence of the use of artificial fertilizers in agriculture, a reduction in livestock numbers and, recently, also as a result of targeted introduction of technologies to eliminate nitrous oxide emissions in the production of nitric acid.
Emissions of fluorinated gases increased from 89.80 in 1995 to 3549.88 Gg CO2 eq. in 2015 (Fig. X.4). There was a similar increase in the contribution of fluorinated gases to total aggregate emissions from industrial processes (from 0.63% in 1995 to 23.03% in 2015). These substances are not manufactured in the Czech Republic and their total consumption is covered by imports. They are employed especially in refrigeration technology (esp. HFC's), in electrical technology (esp. SF6 and newly since 2012 also NF3) and in a number of other areas (e.g. in plasmatic etching, filling for fire extinguishers, aerosol propellants, blowing agents, etc.). The increase in these emissions is caused by their use to replace substances depleting the Earth's ozone layer (CFC, HCFC – mainly as refrigerants), greater use of modern technologies (air conditioning) and the manufacturing focus of the Czech Republic (production of cars, air conditioning units). In some cases, e.g. in window soundproofing and blowing agents, the amount used has remained constant or decreased, related to the introduction of new technologies and/or the use of alternative substances.
Emission trading system
Trading in greenhouse gas (COsub>2) emissions permits is considered to be an economically effective instrument for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Two interconnected systems are currently in effect in the Czech Republic – the European Emission Trading Scheme and the flexible Kyoto Protocol mechanisms: the Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation Projects and International Emission Trading. The flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol were repealed by the new Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) No. 525/2013.
From the very beginning, experts from CHMI participated in the preparation and implementation of EU ETS in the Czech Republic, especially in relation to methodology (monitoring, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions). The interaction of the national greenhouse gas emission inventory and the EU ETS system is bilateral; the national inventory provides some basic data for the calculation of emissions from selected processes and, on the other hand, selected data obtained through the EU ETS are used in the national inventory.
In utilisation of the KP flexible mechanisms, the implementation and operation of the National Inventory System is a fundamental and unavoidable condition for the ability to participate in International Emission Trading; it provides the potential for substantially lower administrative burden and thus a reduction in costs for Joint Implementation Projects.
Czech enterprises participating in EU ETS in 2015 emitted 0.1 % less greenhouse gases into the air in 2015 compared to 2014. Emissions in 2015 equalled 66.6 Mt CO2, which is a substantially lower figure than anticipated by the National Allocation Plant for the Czech Republic. The results are presented in Tab. X.3, and the trend in CO2 emissions within EU ETS is apparent from Fig. X.5.