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Press release: 24 September 2019
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York that Greece will close all its lignite-fired power plants by 2028 at the latest, marking an historic opportunity to transition to a renewable energy future.
Reacting to the phase-out announcement, ClientEarth lawyer Eleni Diamantopoulou said: “We congratulate the Greek government on recognising that the climate emergency requires bold action, and taking this necessary step to fight it. This is a turning point for the future stability of Greece’s economy and the health of people and the planet.
“For years, Greece’s lignite industry has received preferential treatment, allowing it to operate and pollute above legal requirements. But the government’s vow to transform its energy system means no more free passes for this dying sector.
“The Greek government must now match commitments with action by tapping into its brimming renewable energy potential. Moving away from a fossil fuel economy by investing in renewable energy sources and promoting energy efficiency will set the conditions for an accelerated move towards a more just, flexible and affordable energy future.”
The government also announced it plans to prepare a new, ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan, which should reflect the measures to guarantee a cleaner energy future for the country.
Diamantopoulou added: “Putting people at the heart of this transition is key. It will allow Greece and the rest of Europe to move towards a renewable and more efficient energy future faster and at a lower cost while securing greater economic, environmental and social benefits for everyone.”
The phase-out deadline matches the expiration date of the environmental permits of all of Greece’s lignite plants and mines.
ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. We believe the law is a tool for positive change. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.