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Climate law in Greece: the copy must be reviewed.

Climate law in Greece. | Posted on 2021-11-25 15:51

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is not a political goal, but the threshold, beyond which life on the planet is not immune from the effects of an uncontrolled trajectory of the climate crisis.

Greece, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, is already experiencing painfully the effects of the climate crisis and should therefore pioneer ambitious and scientifically-based climate action and shoulder its responsibility. [1] to the global effort to avoid a climate collapse.

The climate bill presented a few days ago at a press conference essentially takes up the European climate objectives for 2030 and 2050 which are not compatible with the objective of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as pointed out. 9 organizations (Hellenic Union of Human Rights, Greek Society for Environment and Culture, Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, Ecological Recycling Society, Greenpeace, MEDASSET, Voliwatch, GSEE, WWF Greece). It is therefore not up to the scientifically determined bar limiting the climate crisis to 1.5oC [2] and essential to achieve, through national commitments and ambitious political measures in each country on the planet, a reduction to zero emissions as soon as possible and certainly before 2050.

Organizations and bodies that have drawn up a climate bill with hundreds of citizens [3] point out that, despite the individual positive elements, the bill should be significantly improved in order to ensure a crisis resilient future. climate in Greece.

In particular, the organizations' first comments on the most crucial elements of the climate law in consultation, as presented by political leaders of the RIS, are noted below. The column beside indicates the proposals that should be put into practice so that the final climate law responds effectively to the fight against the climate crisis and protects the country from its worst effects.

1. Climate objectives

The targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, although derisively improved compared to current targets, remain insufficient compared to what science dictates. Likewise, it appears from the wording of the provisions that these objectives are "maintained", without therefore being legally binding, whereas the European climate objectives are now defined as such.


Objectives of the climate bill

Scientifically based objectives *


Minimum -55% of net emissions

-65% (min.) Of gross emissions


Min. -80% of net emissions

-95% (min.) Of gross emissions

Climate neutrality


2045 at the latest

* Based on the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In its positive elements, the bill provides for an interim target for 2040 and a review process for the targets every five years. However, it would be more efficient to set intermediate targets for 2035 and 2045 in order to ensure as efficient a path as possible towards climate neutrality, by assessing progress more quickly and taking into account the most up-to-date scientific and technological data. The forecast of sectoral carbon budgets is also a positive element which should be further strengthened in the final text.

2. Energy

The energy objectives of the bill to promote RES (Renewable Energy Sources) and energy savings are not clear. It is therefore necessary to integrate specific and ambitious and legally binding objectives that will transform the energy system of electricity production to 100% EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) by 2035 in terms of environmental sustainability. and social justice. The promotion of energy savings and the properly planned penetration of RES are among the most effective and cost-effective tools available to us to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [5].

The specific energy objectives (transport, buildings, non-interconnected islands) go in the right direction. However, they should not be limited to the evolution of technology, but should also tackle social issues, such as the protection of the most vulnerable households and the participation of citizens in the energy transition.

Regarding fossil fuels, lignite detoxification is postponed until "at the latest until 2028", while last September, at a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the prime minister said that this is a deadline for 2025. [6]. Although the bill provides for a review of the deadline in 2023, it should be noted that for each year of operation of the new Ptolémaida V lignite plant, Greece will emit an additional 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, i.e. about 5% of its annual emissions.

An extremely negative element of the bill is that there do not appear to be any legally binding targets for the progressive rehabilitation of mineral gas and that there is no mention of the end of hydrocarbon mining, so even more and more States are announcing plans to this effect. [7]. The science is clear: we cannot switch to new mines and hydrocarbon infrastructure if we are to reach the 1.5 degree Celsius target [8].

3. Nature protection

The need to protect nature does not appear as a priority and a component in the effort to mitigate the climate crisis, but seems to be limited to vague guidelines or as a tool in adaptation provisions. At a minimum, nature protection objectives should be integrated, as the Prime Minister announced at the IUCN Conference last September.

4. Climate governance

Low role of the scientific community in the climate governance system, because the scientific committee is designated as “technical and scientific adviser to the State”. The bill should provide for an independent scientific monitoring body responsible for studying the country's progress towards climate neutrality with strong and significant responsibilities. The very important chapter on education for change and the environment as a whole is also neglected.

5. Rights

The bill appears to omit any reference to the essential human rights chapter on climate stability, the best available science and safeguarding the environmental acquis. The important and crucial chapter of the just transition of work also seems to have been put aside.

The Glasgow conference once again highlighted the gap between the goals and actions already announced by governments, and the ambition we need to ensure a sustainable and resilient future. The national climate law could have become the first tool in the aftermath of Glasgow for the country to align its social life and economic activity with its target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. In this sense, organizations and bodies undertake to help improve the bill by submitting comments and mobilizing citizens to participate in the public consultation. For something that concerns the future of all of society, which is supposed to bring about significant changes to the way we produce and consume goods, the company's commitment from the start is paramount. Such an important law is an opportunity to generate the major essential decisions.

Finally, the organizations are asking the Minister of the Environment and Energy to give sufficient time, at least one month, for the consultation of the climate bill.

Further information:

[1] A key indicator for calculating a country's climate footprint is its per capita emissions. Based on this index, Greece has a significant climate footprint since its per capita emissions amount to 8.4 tonnes of CO2 / year, as much as the European average. (Source: Eurostat )

[2] The European Union's climate targets for 2030 and 2050 would lead to a warming of around 2 ° C. For the European climate objective to be compatible with the 1.5oC threshold, it would need a level of 65% by 2030, against 55% currently in force. This objective has already been adopted by Germany (65% by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2045), while it is very likely that after COP26, the European Union will have to further improve its ambition in the years to to come. (Source: Climate Action Tracker, WWF )

[3] You can see here the proposed law on the climate of organizations and citizens.

[4] The current National Energy and Climate Plan (SEC) provides for an emission reduction target of at least 42% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The SEE should be revised to follow revised European climate and energy objectives, as defined in the European climate law and the Fit for 55 package.

[5] In the first half of 2021, greenhouse gas emissions in Greece decreased by 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels (first half of 2019) thanks to a significant drop in participation in lignite and a increased participation of RES. Greece must build on this success by setting ambitious targets for mineral gas detoxification, the development of RES and energy savings. (Source: Ember )

[6] Since the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Energy on September 25, the Prime Minister said on this subject: “First of all, with regard to decarbonization and the rapid abandonment of lignite , we have started the process with the aim of completely freeing ourselves from lignite by 2028 and we have funded this effort with around 5 billion euros to support the transition. In fact, our main goal now is to phase out all lignite-fired power plants by 2025, three years ahead of schedule.

[7] In Glasgow, the governments of Costa Rica and Denmark presented the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) initiative to end exploration and production of mineral oil and gas, where the top 10 members to take goals have been announced: Quebec, France, Sweden, Wales, Greenland, California, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland and Italy. The climate law is a golden opportunity for Greece to announce the end of its hydrocarbon development program and to prevent the emissions of hundreds of millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.

[8] The traditionally conservative International Energy Agency, in its new roadmap for climate neutrality by 2050, warns that it cannot (and does not need) to start producing new deposits of oil, mineral gas and coal after 2021 if we are to reach the 1.5oC target. (Source: AIE )

Posted on 2021-11-25 15:51

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