Greece passed its first climate law on Thursday, which sets out specific targets to fight climate change and wean itself off coal in power generation by 2028.
The legislation sets interim targets for Greece to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and by 80% by 2040 before achieving zero-net emissions by 2050.
It also requires the country to cut dependence on fossil fuels, including weaning itself off indigenous lignite in electricity production from 2028 onward.
This target might be brought forward to 2025, taking into account security of supplies.
“It’s an existential matter, a very important one, because it has to do with our lives, because it has to do with our children’s lives,” Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas told lawmakers.
“Is this just going to help protect the environment? Νο, it’s not. It also helps the country’s energy security.”
Greece is planning investments worth about 10 billion euros to expand its power grid by 2030, while it speeds up the development of renewables to more than double their share in electricity production.
The country, like many others, has been in the grip of rising prices for gas, electricity, fuel and food since last year, a trend that has been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government has been subsidizing power and gas bills and has also offered a one-off grant to vulnerable groups at a total cost of €4 billion since last year.
As part of an additional package worth €3.2 billion, the law stipulated that Greece will cover a big part of the increases that households have seen in their power bills from December until end-May. [Reuters]