Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Earth Day Focusing on Climate Action

ZAGREB, April 22, 2020 - The theme of this year's Earth Day, which is observed on April 22 and in 2021 celebrates its 50th anniversary, is climate action.

The Croatian Ministry of Environment and Energy says that the topic of climate action is very important globally and particularly in Europe, considering that the European Commission at the end of 2019 presented the European Green Deal whereby the EU affirmed its commitment to facing climate and environmental challenges.

The European Green Deal is aimed at ensuring sustainable development and a green and just transition to enable Europe to become a climate neutral continent by 2050, the ministry recalls, noting that this requires joint action by all economic sectors and using all available resources.

Croatia has so far fulfilled all obligations regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and it has been undertaking activities to reduce the impact of humans on climate and adapt to climate change, the ministry says.

On the occasion of Earth Day, the Green Action non-governmental organisation wonders how much everyone, notably governments, including Croatia's, have done so far to protect the planet.

The NGO warns that in the current situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, some projects and decisions have been relaunched that will have an adverse effect on the environment, such as the issuing of permits for the excavation of gravel and sand from the Drava River or a tender for the construction of the Prukljan golf course.

The NGO believes that the problem of plastic and medical waste, generated in the current pandemic, has revealed shortcomings of the waste management system and wonders how Zagreb will cope with the consequences of the March 22 earthquake and whether reconstruction will be in line with public interest, citizens' safety and environmental standards.

Greenpeace Croatia has said that the coronavirus pandemic and the recent quake in Zagreb have shown how caring and brave people are and can be and how important some frequently neglected professions are, as well as how important it is to listen to scientists.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) calls on decision-makers to adopt ambitious and specific plans for a green and sustainable future. It says that humankind is faced with two crises - a medical crisis, caused by the coronavirus and a climate crisis, whose effects include a decline in biodiversity, and they both pose a threat to humankind.

More environmental protection news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Location for Radioactive Waste Management Centre Taken Over by Fund

ZAGREB, April 1, 2020 - The fund for financing the decommissioning of Krško Nuclear Power Plant and the disposal of its radioactive waste stated on Tuesday that it had received the approval from the Energy and Environment Ministry for the use of former Čerkezovac barracks for establishment of a Radioactive Waste Disposal Centre.

The former Čerkezovac barracks are at Trgovska Gora in the municipality of Dvor on the left bank of the River Una.

The Zagreb-based Fund says in its press release that during the implementation of the project it would permanently cooperate with the local community and the general public as well as with stakeholders across the border, that is nearby municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina municipalities that are located on the border with Croatia and gravitate towards the River Una fear that radioactive waste from Trgovska Gora would pollute the environment on both sides of the border and harm the health of local residents.

Establishing the centre, Croatia will manage the radioactive waste in a safe, systematic and tested way, said the fund.

The Krško nuclear power plant is jointly owned by Croatia and Slovenia and is located in the Slovenian town of Krško.

Croatia's national programme for the implementation of a strategy for the management of radioactive waste has been submitted to the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), which is expected to evaluate it, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is seeking guarantees that the programme will not have a negative impact on the country.

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Climate Change Growing Threat and Challenge for Humanity

ZAGREB, March 5, 2020 - Climate change is a growing threat in the 21st century and a challenge for humanity, the Environment Protection and Energy Ministry's State Secretary Mile Horvat said in the Croatian parliament on Thursday while presenting the Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change for the period until 2040 with a view to 2070.

Croatia is one of the three EU countries that have not adopted such a document yet, Horvat told the MPs.

All the lawmakers welcome such a strategy - the ruling party called it visionary, while the opposition questioned its feasibility, saying that key problems, such as waste management, have not been solved by the ministry.

Horvat said that there was a growing amount of evidence showing that Croatia was being affected by the climate change and that large sums of money were already being allocated for repairing the damage. He also said that eight key sectors most exposed to climate change had been identified and that agriculture was, according to some forecasts, the sector that would suffer the most damage.

Due to climate change, the yield of current crops in Croatia is expected to decline by three to eight percent by 2050, Horvat said.

The State Secretary also gave an estimate of the cost of implementing the strategy.

The annual cost is estimated at HRK 1.3 billion, or €183 million, which may seem a large amount, but only until compared to the annual economic damage caused by extreme climate events. It has so far amounted to €295 million a year, which is almost twice the cost of implementing the measures under the proposed strategy, Horvat said.

More environment news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Cities with Higher Pollution Need to Prepare Action Plans

ZAGREB, January 18, 2020 - Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Friday that cities with higher levels of air pollution, including Zagreb, need to prepare action plans to combat pollution and then act based on those plans.

"Cities that have higher levels of air pollution need to prepare action plans and act according to those plans. That is not in the remit of the government," Ćorić said opening a gas compressor station in Velika Ludina, about 60 kilometres east of Zagreb.

The government cannot do anything in the short term but in the long term there are a series of measures aimed at reducing pollution and Croatia is heading in that direction. The long-term measures include energy efficiency and the transition to vehicles that do not cause air pollution.

Through the Environment Protection and Energy Fund, the government co-finances the purchase of electric vehicles as well as the transition of public institutions to cleaner forms of heating and in the context of its strategies it seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and is oriented towards renewable energy sources, said Ćorić.

With reference to the current air pollution in Zagreb, Ćorić said that this is a phase caused by meteorological circumstances "because we are in the middle of the heating season."

"Some analysis has shown that a certain portion of pollution comes from across the border to certain towns in Croatia," Ćorić said and noted the case of Kopački Rit Nature Park where the level of particulate matter is higher than normal, although there is not pollution there.

Ćorić criticised those who make off-handed catastrophic comments and cause tension in society.

"That is not good for this society. In a few days' time, as weather forecasters have announced, the fog will lift and colder temperatures and snow are forecast and this situation should calm down," he concluded.

More news about the environment can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Croatia Will Push for Establishment of Energy Union

ZAGREB, November 21, 2019 - The Islands Forum on European islands' clean energy began in Podstrana near Split on Wednesday, with Energy and Environmental Protection Minister Tomislav Ćorić saying that Croatia would push for the establishment of the Energy Union during its EU presidency.

"Alongside clean energy for islands, we also plan to focus on the continuation of the establishment and implementation of the Energy Union as well as on transitioning to clean energy, which will include activities and measures for the reduction of harmful emissions and the development of a low-carbon economy, in line with a just energy transition," Ćorić said.

He said the forum was a watershed in Croatia's preparations for the EU presidency in the first half of 2020, which include activities as part of the Smart Islands Declaration which the EU adopted in 2017. "We are trying to head towards a climate neutral and greener Europe."

Europe has over 2,000 inhabited islands which have access to different energy sources, notably renewables, but many still rely on the expensive import of fossil fuels, Coric said.

In February this year, 26 European islands officially began transitioning to clean energy with the support of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat, the organiser of the Islands Forum, he said. "We are proud that of Croatia's 1,244 islands, four are on that list - Brač, Hvar, Korčula and the Cres-Lošinj Archipelago."

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Government Adopts Energy Strategy for Period Until 2030

ZAGREB, October 31, 2019 - The government on Thursday forwarded to the parliament a draft energy strategy of Croatia in the period until 2030 with an outlook for the period until 2050, which envisages a much higher share of energy from renewable sources, greater energy efficiency and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

"The main purpose of this strategy is to ensure energy independence, a safe and sustainable supply, as well as the development and competitiveness of the energy system, in the context of accomplishing the vision of a common energy-climate policy in Croatia and at the EU level," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said that the strategy's goals included reducing dependence on energy imports and strengthening the supply of energy products by developing strategic infrastructure, one of such projects being the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the island of Krk.

The strategy is based on growing, flexible and sustainable energy production, development of new infrastructure and alternative energy supply routes, and greater energy efficiency, the purpose being the accomplishment of the EU's climate neutrality by 2050.

"The strategy will enable Croatia to transition to low-carbon energy, primarily by increasing energy efficiency and by increasing the use of renewables," said Ćorić, adding that Croatia already fared relatively well in terms of the use of renewable energy sources.

At the end of 2018, the share of renewables in total energy consumption was 28%, which is more than regulated by the EU, the minister said, but added that he wanted the share of renewables in total consumption and production to be the highest possible in the coming period.

He noted that in the period until 2030 the share of renewables was expected to increase to a minimum 32% with a potential increase to 36.4% while in the period until 2050 the share was expected to rise to 65%.

In 2017, the share of renewables in total domestic energy consumption was 27.3%.

The implementation of the energy strategy requires significant investments in energy efficiency in the context of reducing total energy consumption in the next ten years and beyond.

The third main goal of the strategy is a radical cut in CO2 emissions.

The minister also noted that emphasis would be put on the production of wind and solar energy as well as other types of energy.

The funds required to implement the strategy range between HRK 378 and 461 billion or between 12.5 and 15 billion kuna annually. Investments will be more intensive in the period until 2030 (14-17 billion kuna) and in the period from 2031 to 2050 they will amount to between 12 and 15 billion.

More energy news can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

INA Extracts 21 Billion Cubic Metres of Gas from Northern Adriatic

ZAGREB, October 23, 2019 - The INA oil and gas company on Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of continued production of natural gas in the Adriatic Sea.

"In the last 20 years over 21 billion cubic metres of gas has been extracted by 18 platforms in the northern Adriatic. These figures encourage us to make further progress in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Croatia, primarily in the northern Adriatic which offers the potential which I believe we will know how to use," Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said at a ceremony held on the Ivana A platform, located 36 kilometres from the nearest mainland.

Ćorić stressed that hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation was being conducted in line with the highest environmental protection and safety standards. "Successful projects like this testify to the importance of strategic and responsible management of resources with a view to developing the economy and increasing the share of domestic production."

Ćorić visited the platform in the company of INA CEO Sandor Fasimon and the head of the Agency for Hydrocarbons, Marijan Krpan.

Fasimon said: "The purpose of our oil and gas exploration and production activities is to maximise the existing potential domestically, both offshore and onshore. We have incorporated this into our development plans because 15 years from now we want to be proud of our company and remain a reliable partner to the Croatian economy."

Krpan said that the Northern Adriatic project was very demanding in terms of technology and concept and that it put Croatia among countries with the know-how for offshore hydrocarbon production.

Ćorić recalled that INA had begun hydrocarbon exploitation in the northern Adriatic in 1999 and that it was an excellent move. He said that currently 1.1 million cubic metres were extracted daily or about 400 million annually, which is about 15-20 percent of domestic consumption.

"In the last few years we have launched several campaigns for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, all of them onshore. The northern Adriatic offers certain potential and I'm sure we will know how to use it in the future," the minister said.

Asked about the LNG terminal, Ćorić said that it was being built and that it would be operational at the end of 2020. He noted that the LNG terminal would help meet Croatian needs for gas and diversify supply routes for Europe. "The exploitation of hydrocarbons is one way of reducing Croatia's energy dependence, the other being the construction of alternative infrastructure," Ćorić said.

More news about gas in Croatia can be found in the Business section.

Friday, 4 October 2019

1.4 Billion Kuna Agreement Signed for Water Supply in Kaštela and Trogir

ZAGREB, October 4, 2019 - A 1.43 billion kuna (€193 million) co-financing agreement for the construction and reconstruction of the municipal water supply infrastructure in the Kastela and Trogir agglomeration was signed in Split on Thursday. The work should be completed by December 2023.

The agreement was signed by Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić, the CEO of the Hrvatske Vode water management company, Zoran Đuroković, and the CEO of Split's "Vodovod i Kanalizacija" company, Tomislav Šuta.

The project provides for the construction and reconstruction of more than 125 kilometres of the water supply network and over 230 kilometres of the public drainage system. After its completion, over 8,600 households will be connected to the public drainage system and over 1,600 households to the public water supply network, Minister Ćorić said.

About 70 percent of the project cost will be co-financed through the EU operational programme "Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020."

Also signed was a 16.1 million kuna (€2.17 million) co-financing agreement for the construction of municipal water supply works in Lećevica, a village in Split-Dalmatia County.

More Trogir news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Greenies Call for Withdrawal of Amendments to Waste Collection Regulation

ZAGREB, October 3, 2019 - Green Action activists on Thursday protested outside the Ministry of Environment and Energy, calling for amendments to the Municipal Waste Collection Regulation to be withdrawn and for Environment Minister Tomislav Ćorić to be replaced.

The amendments will result in a significant financial blow to citizens, particularly households of one or two members and small companies, they said.

The protesters underscored that they were against the ministry's unacceptable plan to force cities and municipalities to make all households pay the same, fixed part of the monthly waste collection bill regardless of whether they consist of one, two or ten members. According to utility companies, the plan would mean a significant increase in waste bills for small households and small companies.

Marko Košak of the Green Action explained that the ministry wants to make all households pay the same, fixed part of the waste bill whereas currently that part of the bill is paid based on the number of household members.

This is yet another in a series of Minister Ćorić's decisions which deal a financial blow to those who produce the least waste, and it is contrary to a fair waste management policy, Košak said.

Siniša Radiković, the director of the Pre-Kom waste management utility company from Prelog in Međimurje County, which has the highest level of waste separation and has already met the objectives set for Croatia for 2025, said that his company's excellent results were a sufficient argument for the ministry to correct the injustice that would harm the most vulnerable, one- or two-member households, and small companies.

More news about environmental protection can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Minister: Radioactive Waste Storage Facility in Čerkezovac at Highest Environment Standards

ZAGREB, October 1, 2019 - Environment and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić said on Tuesday Croatia was continuing activities concerning the construction of a radioactive waste storage facility in Čerkezovac in Dvor municipality in accordance with the highest environmental standards because no consensus was reached with Slovenia on building a joint facility for waste from the Krško nuclear power plant.

"We will talk with the people in Čerkezovac... Croatian inhabitants live there and they share the fate of all Croatian inhabitants, so it's quite certain the storage facility will be there, but at the highest environmental standards," Ćorić told reporters in Karlovac, adding that "there's no reason for fear as such storage facilities exist across Europe."

He dismissed Bosnian fears that a storage facility in Čerkezovac, which is near the border, would pose a threat to development, business and life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "Nothing, including the life of any person, on either side of the Una river, in Croatia or BiH, will be in danger."

Ćorić said that every interested party could take part in a public consultation once the technical and ecological aspects of the project were ready.

He dismissed "the blanket political manifestos from BiH and the local government in Dvor," urging them not to "disseminate fear among people and score cheap political points."

Asked if Croatia had an alternative location for storing radioactive waste if the Čerkezovac environmental impact study was rejected, Ćorić said "there's no plan B" and that Croatia would be forced to accept Slovenia's offer to build a joint storage facility, which it rejected on Monday.

The minister said that aside from the waste from the Krško plant, which is located in Slovenia and co-owned by Slovenia and Croatia, Croatia must also store radioactive waste produced on its territory, "instead of it being stored at dozens of locations in Europe as is now the case."

More news about environmental protection can be found in the Lifestyle news.

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