Greece wants to make coal an ancient story – Grist

It is Wednesday December 8 and Greece is leading the pack when it comes to quitting coal.

At the United Nations climate conference in Scotland last month, more than 40 countries called attention to committing to phase out coal-fired power generation by the 2030s and 2040s. But Greece, one of the most coal-dependent countries in the European Union, predicts a much faster transition away from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.

In the draft of a new climate law unveiled last month, the conservative government of Greece, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, proposed decommissioning all coal-fired power plants in the country and phasing out coal production over the next six years. In a interview with the Financial TimesGreece’s Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas called the effort “historic significance” to tackle the climate crisis. In 2019, approximately 12 percent of Greece’s energy consumption came from coal.

The proposed law comes just after a brutal summer and fall for Greece. In early August, forest fires burned more than 400 square miles, move thousands of people. Scientists say hot, arid conditions – symptoms of climate change – helped fuel the devastating fires.

Greece’s proposed legislation also promises a ban on sales of gasoline cars by the end of the decade – five years ahead of the proposed EU ban. And by 2025, it would ban all buildings from using oil heating and require solar panels on some industrial buildings.

Conservationists hailed the news but criticized the 2028 deadline for phasing out coal-fired electricity, noting that the Mitsotakis government had already proposed a phase-out of coal by 2025. They also called for stronger language on phase out production and use of oil and gas, as well as increased commitments to preserve biodiversity. “Its provisions are not strong enough,” Nikos Petrou, president of the Hellenic Society of Greece for the Protection of Nature, told me. “Despite the positive elements… we are concerned that it does not have the bold measures required by current conditions.”

Correction: Yesterday’s Beacon twisted the relationship between the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board vote and a decision by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The story was update.

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