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Coal Kept, NGO’s in Greece Slam Climate Change Measures on Table

ATHENS – After Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis backed away from tougher laws to deal with climate change – which he blamed partially for devastating 2021 wildfires – 11 Non-governmental organizations said measures being debated in Parliament fell short.

The groups said the legislation aiming at curbing Greece’s reliance on fossil fuels and contain the impact of climate change lacked courage and ambition, said Kathimerini, and that it “fails to introduce crucial reforms to the economy as a whole.”

They said that it sets targets for abolishing lignite, but says nothing of other hydrocarbons and that the standards to cut green house gases 30 percent by 2030 were “scientifically unfounded” and that its provision requiring insurance for all new buildings against climate change overlooks existing structures.

The did, however, applaud the strengthening of environmental provisions in building licensing procedures although Mitsotakis said trying to wean off dependence on Russian energy in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine required Greece to keep using coal for years more.

The Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas told Balkan Green Energy News that the goals would be achieved although the timetable keeps being pushed back.

He told the site that the new framework will become the roadmap for the country to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in line with the European Union’s latest energy and climate goals.

“The new climate law is of capital importance, since it sets the framework of our country for gradually reducing greenhouse gases and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050,” Skrekas said.

The revised climate goals, according to the proposed law, are as follows:

  • A 55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990
  • An 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 compared to 1990
  • Climate neutrality by 2050.

The draft sets the end of 2028 as the latest possible date for the decommissioning of all lignite plants, with a review in 2023 in order to maintain the security of supply, the report said.

From 2023 onward, municipalities are obliged to prepare their own emission reduction plans in order to reduce CO2 emissions by 10 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2019.

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