Prague 2030 Climate Plan

In 2019, Prague set out on the path to becoming a carbon-neutral metropolis and followed the example of leading European cities by adopting a groundbreaking City Council decision. Our goal is no less than to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% before 2030. This is motivated not only by the idea of environmentally friendly local policies, but also by wanting to increase the capacity of Prague to offer good quality of life for its residents, and by the potential of a restructuration of Prague's economy, where green and sustainable technologies are gaining primacy.  

Ilustration image Infographic: Main changes which the Climate Plan aims to bring. Infographic 2 Note: The baseline reference year for most indicators is 2010. The target year is 2030.

As a result, we have tried to embody the ambitious goals which arise in the implementation of the climate agenda in what we believe to be a complex and comprehensive strategic document. The presented Prague 2030 Climate Plan responds to the latest challenges brought on by climate change and seeks to benefit primarily from crucial synergies.

The complete version of the Prague 2030 climate plan is available to download here

What do we strive for?

We are inspired mainly by the large cities of Western Europe. In this respect, we would like Prague in 2030 to be a partner standing alongside them. Climate protection policy is one of the foundations of a successful modern local government and the current social climate favours change. Prague's 2030 Climate Plan is our contribution to this debate - proving that we are definitely not taking this agenda lightly.

A reduction in CO2 emissions to a desirable level must be the result of simultaneously implementing various separate projects. An integral part of the Climate Plan is therefore formed by a comprehensive project repository which rationalises the main benefits and, more importantly, the potential these projects have for fulfilling the goals of the proposed climate strategy. Overall, we can identify the following milestones as crucial for our common efforts in building a metropolis for the 21st century:

Changing the network of sources used to cover the city’s energy consumption

This will allow us to release Prague from its dependence on coal-based energy sources, the operation of which continues to have major impacts on our surroundings. This would allow for a reduction in carbon emissions of up to approximately 2.5 million tonnes per year. However, such changes rely on the condition of securing a different way of supplying energy - through a large infrastructure of low- and zero-emission power plants (e.g. solar and hydro power).

Decarbonisation of the production sector and district heat supply

Again, a key step in decreasing the dependence on coal, which promises a reduction in emissions by up to 0.5 million tonnes per year. In particular, we think secondary heat sources are highly promising, especially those targeting the energy potential of waste and wastewater, as well as natural gas. Attention should also be paid to avoiding unnecessary heat losses during its distribution to the end users.

Lowering the overall energy consumption of buildings

There are over 130,000 buildings in the Czech capital. Many of them have been evaluated as suitable candidates for the implementation of energy efficiency improvement measures. By 2030, we see an opportunity to reduce the overall energy consumption by 10%, which again corresponds to a reduction in carbon emissions of around 0.5 million tonnes per year. This is also closely linked to the above-mentioned restructuring of Prague's energy mix.

Electrification of the transport sector

Of course, change should start directly with the motor vehicle fleet managed by city organisations. Beyond this, we would like to motivate Prague residents to think of electromobility as a viable and comfortable alternative to transport. This does place high demands on the city in terms of creating the appropriate conditions. However, the return could be a reduction of additional 0.5 million tonnes per year in our carbon footprint. So, let's pursue this future of electric vehicles, biomethane fuels, and various forms of non-motorised transport further.

Application of the circular economy principles and the transition to biomethane

This is a modern way to give purpose to waste that would be produced in any case. The construction of Prague’s biogas plant has already been discussed - the aim is to process as much organic waste as possible collected from Prague's restaurants and households. Of course, this is closely tied to initiatives promoting the separation of food waste, and we cannot forget the possibilities offered by treatment of residual wastewater sludges. When these things are applied together, we can reach a state where the manufacturing industry generates significantly fewer CO2 emissions.

Large-scale tree planting within the city

While this agenda has no direct impact in terms of the levels of emissions produced, it is nevertheless a key point for improving the quality of life for any municipality. As part of the construction of this so-called blue-green infrastructure, at least 1.5 million new trees should be planted in Prague's parks and streets by 2030. Prague is already displaying a disproportionate use of water for maintenance of public green spaces, which is why the Climate Plan anticipates the development of standards for rainwater management. Rainfall should become the main source of water for these purposes in the future.

Increasing the number of adaptation measures in city buildings

There are currently many public buildings in the capital city's ownership which could be vehicles for various adaptation measures. We consider the fact that they are not yet used for these purposes to be a missed opportunity. Our aim is therefore to increase their share by at least 5% in the first phase for the near future.

Increasing the overall share of blue-green infrastructure

The past years have repeatedly shown us that the climate we live in is dynamic. Frequent temperature fluctuations, long periods without rainfall, and other variations are a new reality which we should not turn a blind eye to. A good tool to respond to these changes is the revitalisation of impermeable and semi-permeable surfaces precisely through blue-green infrastructure projects. We are aiming to expand these on a scale of roughly 7 m2/ 1000 inhabitants.

What exactly is possible in climate protection?

„The structure of the Climate Plan is based on a detailed analysis of the current challenges in the fight against climate change. We have chosen this comprehensive approach precisely because of the interconnectedness of the different areas. Practical solutions in the circular economy can in some aspects also affect projects in the sustainable buildings section and vice versa. No project is isolated - they are all part of a bigger structure.“
FotoMartin Bursík, Chair of the Prague City Council Committee on Sustainable Energy and Climate

The division of labour in the preparation of the Climate Plan is reflected in its final structure. This is despite the division into four pillars being initially a rather pragmatic decision based in organisational needs. Under the leadership of Petr Hlubuček, Deputy Mayor for the Environment, Martin Bursík, Chair of the Prague City Council Committee on Sustainable Energy and Climate, and the newly established Department of Energy Management headed by Jaroslav Klusák, four somewhat separate sub-committees were formed. Each of them was then responsible for formulating one of the following main sections of the Climate Plan:

Infographic:The Prague Climate Plan in Numbers Infografika 1 Infografika 1 Note: BAU = Business as Usual – reference scenario for development, i.e. development without the proposed measures of the Climate Plan

Sustainable Energy and Buildings

Section supervised by Tomáš Voříšek and Jaroslav Klusák. The main objective of this working group was to identify opportunities for independent investment actions of the city and to categorise areas where interventions based on effective alterations of the local governance would be possible. A list of specific projects can be found in the separate section Sustainable Energy and Buildings. However, the primarily the following challenges were addressed:

  • New renewable electricity generation plants
  • Advancement in the renewal of the current building stock to increase standards suitable for a 21st century metropolis
  • New construction as an opportunity for the city of short distances and demonstrating the attainability of carbon neutrality
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of heat production
  • Environmental accounting and carbon budgeting

Sustainable mobility

This section was supervised by Tomáš Voříšek and Jaroslav Mach. The main objective of the working group was to propose measures which would lead to an effective reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels stemming from motor vehicle transport by at least 25% before 2030. The emphasis was on increasing the attractiveness of non-motorised and public transport, as well as on the use of alternative fuel vehicles. In doing so, the working group sought to extend and build on the previously adopted Sustainable Mobility Plan for Prague and its Surroundings. A list of individual projects can be found on the Sustainable Mobility page. In order to fully address these issues, the following challenges should be the primary focus of measures and solutions:

  • Increasing the attractiveness, capacity, and effectiveness of public transport
  • Increasing the attractiveness, capacity, and effectiveness of non-motorised transport
  • Reducing the intensity of motor vehicle transport
  • Replacing of conventional fuel vehicles with low and zero emission options
  • Promoting the development of sustainable air travel

Circular economy

This section was supervised by Vojtěch Vosecký. The main objective of the working group was to raise awareness and popularise the principles of the circular economy for the public. This presented a challenge, as the field of circular economy relies to some extent on changes in human behaviour and ways of thinking. The implementation of appropriate measures will enable Prague to make the most of the energy potential of waste generated within its territory and thus accelerate economic growth. A list of individual measures can be found on the Circular Economy page. In the first phase, the following challenges need to be addressed:

  • Implementing waste prevention systems among residents and across sectors
  • Motivating residents to sort and recover as much organic waste as possible at the point of its generation
  • Introduction of multi-modal sorting of household waste in the framework of so-called household separation sites
  • Efficient recycling and reuse of separated secondary material
  • Cooperation at the national level with experts and the public

Adaptation measures

This section was supervised by Kateřina Schön and Tereza Líbová. The main objective of the working group was to find appropriate ways to support the implementation of projects defined in the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy of the City of Prague and the related implementation plans. This included response plans for specific phenomena relevant to large cities, such as the urban heat island effect. However, consistent monitoring and evaluation of the impacts of individual projects included in the implementation strategy project repository are also a necessary part of this. More information on specific projects can be found on the Adaptation Measures page. However, the key points can be summarised under the following headings:

  • Improving microclimatic conditions
  • Lessening the impact of extreme hydrological events
  • Adaptation of buildings and the environment
  • Increasing preparedness in crisis management

What is the main subject of our focus right now?

The Climate Plan is undoubtedly ambitious; we do not deny that. However, we are able to identify the key projects in the portfolio and we see these as a kind of gateway. Their successful implementation will allow us to pursue further and further goals. We have identified what we want and now we know in what sequence to achieve it. We consider this to be the most important contribution of the document in question.

Detailed listing and descriptions of more than 60 measures in total can be found in the relevant thematic sections. However, at this stage we have already managed to identify those which we consider to be a priority. The implementation of such measures is our first goal, as they are expected to support and facilitate further efforts of the city management in the implementation of other plans. For the most part, these are cross-cutting measures which involve all sections of the plan as presented above. We consider these to be the following:

Infografika: Changes in the CO2 emission balance between 2010 and 2030 in the form of a Sankey diagram1 Infografika 3 1Pozn.: Jedná se o emise CO2 navázané na formy energie, které jsou, respektive budou do území Prahy dodávány (pro výchozí stav v 2010 a cílový rok 2030)
  1. Introducing a system of energy management gradually for all buildings, establishments, and areas of use. Utilising this tool, the city will be able to evaluate the effects of energy saving solutions, develop further ones, and monitor the fulfilment of the Climate Plan.
  2. Constructing a biogas station aiming to utilise sorted and biodegradable waste for the manufacture of biomethane and its further use in the existing natural gas infrastructure to power the Prague Services fleet.
  3. Utilising the low-temperature potential of waste heat from ÚČOV (Central Wastewater Treatment Plant) for heat generation supplying the heating infrastructure within the city area, as well as for innovative supply of the Bubny-Zátory development area with heating and cooling.
  4. Founding the Prague Renewable Energy Community, including investments into installations of hundreds of MWp of power through PV integrated into buildings (roofs, façades, balconies, etc.) or located on current paved surfaces in the vicinity of buildings of whole areas in ownership of the city, as well as opening the Community to the public.
  5. Realising complex energy savings in buildings of the public sector and infrastructure which are in ownership of the city. Main support will be directed towards the improvement of heat isolation properties of outer walls of buildings (through partial or complete insulation of walls and roofs, exchange or whole windows or their glazing and other features).
  6. Modernising street lights and installing public infrastructure of electric vehicle charging stations in new light systems. Retrofitting new public street lighting with more effective LED types, utilising smart regulation of light intensity.
  7. Automation of metro line C. New unmanned vehicles will allow for shorter intervals leading to a higher carrying capacity of the most frequented metro line. This will also allow for the use of the current vehicles serving this line to be transferred to the remaining two lines and modernise their fleet.
  8. Substituting diesel powered vehicles with electric buses or battery-powered trolleybuses. At least 75% of the current fleet of buses operated by the DPP HMP (Prague Transport Company) or contracted by ROPID from private transport companies will be substituted with zero emission vehicles (approx. 900).
  9. Purchasing low or zero emission lorries for the Prague services fleet for the purposes of waste transport and sorted secondary waste, together with setting up charging stations. In the next 10 years, the PSAS (Prague Services) fleet will be renewed so that at least 75% of all used energy will be substituted with bio-CNG produced by a biogas station utilising biodegradable general waste or electricity primarily sources through cogeneration in the Malešice waste incineration plant.
  10. Construction of new metro line D. Construction of a new metro line will expand the capacity of public transport and replace car and bus travel in the southern part of the city. The purpose behind the inclusion of this project in the Climate Plan is primarily to push forward its implementation. However, the investments and expenses necessary for its construction are not included in the financing part of the Plan due to their extent and difficulty in finding financing avenues.
Tabulka: Summary of benefits and implementation costs of individual measures Infografika 4 *) Benefits of measures in terms of CO2 reduction are included in the Sustainable Mobility section