Scientists first alerted the world to the climate change phenomenon in the 1960s. The developments following the onset of the Industrial Revolution have caused a massive increase in the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which results in retention of heat reflected from the Earth’s surface. However, the phenomenon is much more complex than a mere temperature change: this is followed by a number of chain reactions at both the global and regional levels. The impacts of the warming on the fauna and flora are already easily perceptible. The frequency of extreme weather events is growing, including alternating prolonged periods of drought and torrential rains, windstorms, etc.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in order to collect scientific evidence of climate change. Scientists and institutions from all over the world are involved in the Panel. Their research results are then used as background information for political negotiations and ensuing decision-making.

The responses to both occurring and anticipated changes fall into two categories. The one comprises proactive efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that the extent of the changes remains tolerable; the other one comprises measures to enable a certain degree of adjustment to the changes.

The acceptance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was the most important step towards international climate protection. It was implemented by the so-called Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (in force since 2005; ratified by the Czech Republic in 2001). Its primary objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average 5.2% by the year 2012 compared to the 1990 levels. The Czech Republic has made a commitment to reduce its emissions by 8% compared to the 1990 level. According to the last emission inventory, made in 2008, the total greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 141.4 million tonnes of CO2, which was approximately 20% below the Kyoto commitment.

The European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) makes a significant contribution to the reduction of EU emissions; it involves the biggest emitters responsible for roughly two thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. The carbon dioxide emission permits have been allocated free of charge to date; they are expected to be purchased in auctions from 2013 onward.

The 2004 National Programme to Abate the Climate Change Impacts in the Czech Republic is the principal strategic document for the Czech Republic in respect of climate change. A new Climate Change Policy of the Czech Republic is currently under preparation; it should be published during the second half of 2010.

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Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection - Baner Czech Environmental Information Agency - Baner Czech Environmental Inspectorate - Baner