The Czech Republic: Preliminary Results of Country Study on Climate Change

RNDr. Bedrich Moldan et al.

National Climate Program of the Czech Republic

SUMMARY: This document gives basic information about the Czech Country Study as of February 28, 1995. This report describes the results of the greenhouse gas inventory for 1990, and also includes an analysis of the potential effects of climate change on agriculture, forestry, water resources, and human health, as well as an overview of measures that have been carried out and are planned to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the Czech Republic.


The Czech Country Study has been sponsored by the United States Government and the Czech Ministry of the Environment. It is being conducted by the National Climate Program of the Czech Republic (NKP), an association of several governmental, academic, and nongovernmental institutions (the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Charles University in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, the Academy of Sciences, the Energy Efficiency Center (SEVEn, an NGO), and others. NKP was created as the Czech Republic's response to the World Climate Program of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and was established on January 1, 1991. The association publishes a series of studies on different topics dealing with the climate and protection of the global atmosphere. NKP's secretariat is located at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute in Prague.

The Czech Republic's Country Study started on October 1, 1993 and is scheduled to end on September 30, 1995. It consists of five elements:

Elements 1 and 2 are almost complete. Elements 3, 4, and 5 are in progress.

The National Climate Program's work on the Czech Republic's Country Study served as background material for the Czech Republic's First Communication. This document reported on the national process to comply with commitments made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and was submitted to the Convention's Interim Secretariat in October 1994. In this summary we present the main findings of relevant study elements.


For several years the REZZO Inventory1 has been conducted in the Czech Republic. Work has continued on applying the CORINAIR System2, and on the recommendation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the IPCC/OECD Methodology has been used. While the gases addressed in all these methodologies are almost the same (REZZO does not monitor CO2, NO2, and individual methane), the breakdown of sources and the default emissions coefficients differ considerably.

This inventory has been compiled using the IPCC methodology (categorization of sources and certain emissions factors with proven coefficients specifically for local conditions were unavailable), combined with data from other methods (CORINAIR and REZZO), and some data acquired specifically for this report. The following classification of sources was used:

The MINERGG Program was not used for the emissions calculations themselves, because it does not allow for a fine enough categorization of sources, especially in the energy sector. For inventory calculations, a standard spreadsheet program was used.

Total emissions are summarized in Table 1. The estimation of the contribution to the greenhouse effect was made using the total potential for global warming (GWP). The largest share, almost 78 percent, comes from CO2.

Carbon Dioxide

The largest source of this most important greenhouse gas is the energy sector, which accounts for 97 percent. The second largest source is cement production at 2.5 percent. The only sink (forests) seems to be almost negligible in the total balance (sink of 2.3 million tons, i.e. about 1.2 percent). The current estimate of emissions of 167 million tons is 3 percent higher than the results of the previous inventory published a few years ago. The difference is negligible given that the uncertainty of emissions is estimated at 5-15 percent. It is also minor in comparison with an almost 5-percent difference between estimates following the CORINAIR and IPCC methods.


The most significant source is the energy sector, with a dominant share of emissions resulting from coal mining (51 percent of total emitted methane). Two other important sources with nearly equivalent levels of emissions (about 20 percent) are agriculture and waste management. Total emissions of 941 million tons are less than half of the preliminary estimate. The differences are mainly due to changes in the estimate of emissions from the distribution and processing of natural gas and crude oil.

Nitrogen Oxides and Carbon Monoxide

Emissions of these gases are less significant. The major source is the energy sector because of the large amount of burned fuels.

Chlorofluorocarbons represent the second most significant group of gases (after CO2). Their significant share (14.3 percent) in 1990, however, has markedly declined since that time as a result of measures evoked by the Montreal Protocol.


Basic Characteristics of the Czech Republic's Economic Structure

Primary mitigation efforts are focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Many possibilities exist, due to the very high level of energy consumption in the current Czech economy, a legacy from the past. The former Czech economy supported the consumption of energy and other natural resources and stressed the primary role of mining (mainly brown coal, lignite, etc.), heavy and chemical industry, and other energy-intensive economic activities.

The current economy is in a state of transition from a planned to a market economy. A logical consequence of that is a decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent years and restructuring of the economy with some signs of revival. The share of industry in the total economy has fallen from 56.7 percent to 49.6 percent. The share of the service sector has grown from 27.4 percent to 35.5 percent. Total energy consumption has been decreasing since 1989, but the consumption of one fuel (gas) has risen.

Measures to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Legislative and Normative Measures Implemented
The law on atmospheric protection was passed on 1991 and has been gradually amended (the last amendment was on 1994). Accompanying regulations set strict criteria for reducing all basic pollutants. Converting fuels also reduces CO2 emissions. The results of legislative measures are a reduction of emissions in large electric powerplants (by retiring sources that are neither economically nor technically feasible and modernizing existing plants) and in heating plants (modernizing operations). The scenario assumes an emissions reduction of 13.3 million tons by the year 2000 from 1990 levels (an 8 percent reduction).

Energy savings can be achieved in the residential sector by reducing the maximum values of the heat seepage coefficient. According to the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (1994), this method allows for savings of 30-50 percent of the energy designated for heating. This figure corresponds to a reduction of CO2 emissions by another 0.5‹ 1 percent.

A vital condition for limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases from energy processes is the consumer's efficient use of energy. A decree was passed that sets the responsibility to ensure the metering of heat and hot water at the output point of the source, at the entry point to every building and on every appliance, or rather for every consumer of hot water.

Cogeneration of heat and electricity considerably increases the total efficiency of electric powerplants. Currently, it is mandatory to purchase electricity from these cogeneration plants.

Financially Supported Measures Already Implemented
The existing tax system involves, for example, reduced value-added tax (5 percent) for equipment that produces alternative energy sources. Biopetroleum and bio-gas fuels are exempt from consumption taxes. Equipment for the production of alternative energies is exempt from income tax for five years from the start of operation. Structures and property serving solely for the production of these energies are exempt from property tax. Automobiles meeting emissions limits or with electric motors are exempt from the road tax.

Heat conservation programs in residential buildings, conversion to more environmentally benign space and water heating systems, and energy-efficient lighting are financially supported.

Within the framework of subsidy policies, the Ministry of Agriculture helps forest owners to plant forests when it limits agricultural production and other planting efforts. The Agrarian and Forestry Guarantee Fund gives guarantees and pays some of the interest payments on bank loans, as long as the applicant's income is predominantly from agricultural and forestry original production.

Legislative and Normative Measures Prepared and Under Consideration
The government of the Czech Republic is preparing a new industrial policy that will increase the speed of changes in sectoral structure. It will also increase the speed with which technology is replaced. This policy will focus on the long term and especially on small support programs. Legislative changes will also be included. The law on energy management would affect the policy on energy utilities as well as provide a legal foundation for efficiency programs. As part of the national energy policy, energy subsidies will gradually be eliminated, with the exception of the subsidy of household heat.

Normative energy labeling for consumer goods is being prepared. A natural part of this system is the introduction of standards (a ban, or rather the imposition of a high tax or fine) that will limit the appearance of inefficient appliances on the market.

Financially Supported Measures in Preparation
The Ministry of the Environment has prepared a program to support conversion of heating systems. The program primarily involves the conversion of fuels for small and midsized heating sources. In the transportation sector, a range of programs is being prepared to optimize traffic on selected street sections, limit transportation in cities, and gradually implement mandatory catalyzers, etc. Program support, both financial and normative, is being prepared for recycling and the use of biogas from dump sites.

An energy audit is the first step in a comprehensive energy efficiency project. Many companies in the Czech Republic are already performing these audits. Subsidy support should enable even those with limited financial resources to afford comprehensive efficiency measures.


Regional Scenarios

The climatological baseline was defined as the period 1961‹ 1990. Data included daily and monthly mean temperatures, precipitation, and solar radiation.

Equilibrium versions of GCMs (GISS, GFDL, CCCM, and a GFDL transient) was used for monthly average data for 1 x CO2, and 2 x CO2. A climate data base was provided by the U.S. Country Studies Program.

Before the climate change scenarios were developed, the validity of the GCM outputs in this region was evaluated. This evaluation was conducted from two standpoints: GCM-simulated temperature and precipitation patterns were compared with current climate data throughout Europe; and simulated annual patterns of temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation were compared with both the climate data and average annual patterns assessed for a number of stations. The results are summarized in the report prepared by Kalvova and Nemesova (1994). The GISS and CCCM models were considered most suitable for constructing the GCM-based scenarios. There are two variants of the Czech Republic scenarios: GISS-based and CCCM-based. The GISS variant is given as an example in Table 2. The values of the variables in the GCM-based scenarios are understandably questionable. This was the reason for studying the sensitivity of the impact results to arbitrarily chosen changes in temperature and precipitation. For this purpose, an incremental scenario was suggested.

Hydrology and Water Resources

Four watersheds were selected (sizes range from 100 to 5100 sq km), and the state of two water supply reservoirs was examined. The following hydrological variables were used: mean annual runoff, seasonal runoff changes, minimum monthly flows, groundwater and soil water storage. Water management was taken into account. Three water balance models were used in the sensitivity study: BILAN, CLIRUN and SACRAMENTO. One hundred and twenty eight simulations were performed, using inputs provided by the incremental scenario. The simulation outputs differ significantly. The annual runoff, however, proved to be sensitive to seasonal distribution of precipitation changes when compared to the influences of temperature changes.

The main findings are as follows:


The estimate of the possible impacts on agricultural production in the Czech Republic was based on the regional scenario of climate change to the year 2030. In that year there should be an increase in the average air temperature of about 2°C and a decrease in precipitation not exceeding 8 percent of current totals. Additional variants of the scenario were also used, however, allowing for different variations of air temperature and precipitation change.

The expected increase in the concentration of CO2 will have a direct impact on agricultural production. By the use of models, this influence was verified for selected grassy plants and winter wheat. At a doubled concentration of CO2 and unchanged current climate conditions, usable agricultural production of the aboveground parts of grassy plants would increase by about 29‹ 42 percent. For winter wheat this figure would be 10‹ 37 percent. These calculations were made according to the DSSAT 3 Model. A considerable increase in the production of biomass should be accompanied by the allocation of a large share of dry matter into roots. Given the slower rate of decomposition for plant biomass, it can be expected that the soil will be permanently enriched with organic material and that the humus content will increase.

In addition to the direct effect of CO2 increase, plant production will be markedly influenced by a change in climate conditions themselves. The expected warming will appear as an increase in effective temperatures. This should contribute to the expansion of the warmest areas in the Czech Republic. Up to the year 2030, periods without frost can be expected to extend by 20‹ 30 days. This means that in many areas the start of the vegetation period will move up to the beginning of March and the end of the period will be delayed to the end of October. The current vegetation growth period in most of the country is from April to September. The ripening or harvest time could be moved up by at least 10‹ 14 days. Yet on the other hand, planting vegetation earlier in the spring can increase the danger of the plants being harmed by spring frost. The expected temperature increase should thus create sufficient temperature conditions for growing thermophilic plants. Yet there is also a serious danger of temperature stress by more frequent extreme high temperatures. Without a more marked increase in precipitation during the expected growth of evapotranspiration, extensive areas of the Czech Republic will be more threatened by drought. This could reduce the amount of harvest in the most productive areas.

The expected climate change will bring considerable changes in the conditions for the development and effects of agricultural pests and diseases. Temperature increases with approximately the same level of precipitation generally mean improved conditions for their development. This change will also appear in the conditions of the soil, which has been damaged by unsuitable management during socialism. This mainly concerns damage of the physical state of the subsoil, reduced water-retention ability of the soil, and its microbial activity. Letting fields become overgrown with weeds that are persistent is also a great danger. Many of these weeds are more resistant to drought than agricultural plants are.


In the Czech Republic, the expected increases in temperature and changes in the totals and distribution of precipitation would have a significant effect on the composition of forest ecosystems, on the expansion of the tree-covered area, and on the increase in the number of trees. The overall temperature increase would move the top tree border in the mountains and lead to a greater number of thermophilic trees, especially in lower areas. It would also mean that trees that are naturally found primarily in cooler mountain areas, such as the Norway Spruce, would begin to disappear from this area. It is anticipated that with an overall temperature increase of 1‹ 2°C in the Czech Republic, the composition of forest growth would be closer to the composition in more southern areas, where the current climate is similar to that expected in the Czech Republic. Temperature is not the decisive factor in expanding tree- covered area and increasing the number of trees. Of primary importance are precipitation totals and their occurrence during the year.

The studies conducted are based on the analysis of the current state of forests in the Czech Republic (National Climate Program of the Czech Republic, 1995). This analysis addresses the vulnerability of forests, biotic stressors, and the non-wood production functions of forests. Studies for two small-area pilot regions were also conducted.

Human Health

An analysis of the relationship between circulatory diseases and climate characteristics shows that the effect of climate change on human health in the conditions of the Czech Republic will not be very significant.


Results of the Czech Country Study to date include the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in the Czech Republic, an evaluation of measures to reduce these emissions, and an analysis of the vulnerability of managed water bodies, managed forests, and agriculture to climate change (see Table 4). The results of the inventory were used in the First National Communication (Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, 1994). The vulnerability analysis is ready for submission to the appropriate ministries.

The results to date have been judged to be stimulating and valuable.


Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. 1994. The Czech Republic's First Communication on the National Process to Comply With Commitments Under the UN FCCC. Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic and Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.

Kalvová J. and Nemesová , I. 1994. Climate Change Scenarios for the Czech Republic. Budapest Workshop (in publication).

National Climate Program of the Czech Republic, 1995. Regional Study of Climate Change in the Czech Republic. Element 2 (Czech Republic Country Study, Element 2).
‹ Climate Change Scenarios for the Czech Republic
‹ Sectoral Summary Report for Agriculture
‹ Sectoral Summary Report for Hydrology and Water Resources
‹ Sectoral Summary Report for Forestry
‹ Sectoral Summary Report for Human Health Summaryreports are only in Czech.

Tichy, M., P. Dvorá k, and Z. Vorá cková . Inventory of the Greenhouse Gases. SEVEn Report No. 94/013a. Prague 1994.

March 1995

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