The Slovenia Times

Environment minister unhappy with Climate Conference


The IPCC report warns that countries need to take immediate action in order to limit the warming of the atmosphere to 1.5 degrees centigrade by the end of the century.

Leben told his counterparts in Katowice that Slovenia wanted to see more ambitious goals, adding that Slovenia would double its Green Climate Fund input and would also set up its own EUR 148m climate change programme.

"The funds will not come from the budget, the money comes from emissions coupon trade," Leben said a short press statement in Ljubljana on Monday.

Slovenia will also draft a long-term strategy for 2050. "We need to set an example and do our part if countries cannot find an agreement on the international level."

The strategy will also have to address one of the most problematic energy projects in the country: the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant (TEŠ), whose newest generator just cost the country nearly EUR 1.5bn.

"I will propose ambitious policies. This means reduction of emissions. The fate of this investment lays in the hands of the government," said Leben and added that the Dutch government had decided to shut down all thermal power plants, including new investments.

Leben met his Dutch counterpart in Katowice and Slovenia intends to consult the Netherlands in preparing its strategy.

Moreover, he said that the state would no longer subsidise gas-powered buses, switching instead only to electric buses and those powered by hydrogen and fuel cells.

TEŠ and road transport were labelled as weights around Slovenia's neck by Dušan Plut, an environmental activist, who was also critical of the Katowice conference.

"I believe that the conference failed at its own purpose," because the negotiators did not define conditions and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He is concerned because countries will avoid doing anything concrete to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions until 2021 and were now merely tasked with drafting their individual strategies.

Plut is however happy to see that Slovenia is one of the more ambitious countries in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. However, Slovenia often does not do the things it says it would, he added.

"We have two weights tied around our neck": road transport and TEŠ. Road transport emissions are increasing and virtually nothing has been done, he said, adding that emissions from TEŠ alone would reach the cap set for Slovenia for the entire 21st century.

Slovenia will not be able to reach its ambitious goals of reducing emissions by 40-50%, unless the thermal power plant is shut down by 2035 at the latest, said Plut.

Environmental NGO Umanotera said on Monday that short-term interests won out over science at Katowice. "A year of climate disasters and an alarming warning from scientists should have brought much more."


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