Coal plants ‘pose climate risk’

The government’s plans to build at least two new coal-fired power stations to meet the country’s growing energy needs will boost carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 10 percent, according to a study by conservation group Greenpeace. Four sites have been slated for the planned power stations, which are to be run on anthracite, a low-grade coal. These sites are Aliveri and Mantoudi on the island of Evia, Antikyra in the prefecture of Viotia and the port of Astakos in Aitoloacarnania. In all the proposed locations residents have protested, fearful of the implications of the power plants for local pollution levels, and ultimately citizens’ health. Greenpeace is to join residents of Aliveri next weekend in a symbolic protest at the site slated for the power station. Residents plan to plant trees in the area. Apart from the pollution risk posed by coal-fired power stations, Greenpeace has highlighted the risk of a further worsening of global warming in a country where rising temperatures and dwindling water reserves are already a problem. «The operation of these units, even with the most advanced technology, will release some 13.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year,» said Dimitris Ibrahim, Greenpeace’s energy expert in Greece. «This will result in a 10 percent increase in greenhouse gases in Greece,» he added. The Development Ministry and the Public Power Corporation (PPC) argue that anthracite must be added to the country’s energy mix to satisfy power needs, noting that the use of lignite – an even more polluting form of coal – is being curbed. A committee of state and nongovernmental organizations is reportedly planning to discuss the merits and disadvantages of adding the nuclear energy option to Greece’s energy mix. Greenpeace, which is categorically opposed to nuclear power, claims that Greece could satisfy 88 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy sources if it exploited the country’s rich potential in solar and wind energy.

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