Are EU policymakers considering spending EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) funds in favour of coal? It surely seems so if one examines carefully the recent history of the ETS, writes Nikos Mantzaris.

In February 2017 the European Parliament sent a loud and clear message by setting specific, coal-excluding standards as eligibility criteria for poor member states access to the ETS funds, including the Modernisation Fund.


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Silver medal of shame for Greece for non-compliance with decisions of the EU Court of Justice, which result in financial penalties costing millions of euros. Another silver medal of shame for the high number of open EU environmental law infringement cases. Extremely low levels of collection of financial penalties imposed for environmental law violations, endless intransparent efforts to legalise illegal buildings and land uses, restart of the Acheloos River Diversion pharaonic plan. These are a few highlights from Greece, regarding the status of implementation of environmental laws and policies for 2017, according to WWF Greece.


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WWF Greece’s study on the Long-Term Energy Plan of Greece demonstrates that burning lignite not only severely impacts human health and the environment, but is also against the interests of consumers and the Greek economy as a whole. Impressively enough, lignite’s share can drop to nearly zero already by 2035. Last, according to the scenarios examined, ambitious clean energy policies can lead to lower electricity costs by 12% compared to the persistence on lignite.


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WWF takes legal action against anyone responsible for the oil spill polluting the coasts and sea of Athens.

© George Moutafis


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If you are visiting Greece’s wonderful nature this year, or you operate a business in a tourism destination, please consider the following tips and enjoy an environmentally conscious holiday. Share with your friends and spread the word!

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Pioneering project aiming to achieve clean energy autonomy for remote islands wins two EU awards

The innovative project TILOS has brought home two awards for Greece and the remote Aegean island of Tilos. TILOS, conceived by a team of engineers working at the Soft Energy Applications & Environmental Protection Laboratory of the Piraeus University of Applied Sciences (PUAS), has been awarded the first prizes at the prestigious EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) contest in both the Energy Islands and the Citizens' Awards categories. The Energy Islands Award was announced by an expert committee, while the Citizens Award was a result of an online public vote among 12 final nominees. Participation of voting EU citizens in this year’s competition was unprecedented: participation was almost twice as that during last year’s competition. TILOS received half of the public’s votes.
The awards were presented by the EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, the most important sustainable energy policy conference.

The aim of the TILOS project, that begun in February 2015 and will be completed by early 2019, is to achieve maximum energy autonomy from clean energy sources for the Greek island of Tilos. The project is entering now its most critical phase, as the installation of a medium scale turbine and a medium scale PV park will be completed in the next coming days. The hybrid energy system is expected to go into trial operation at the end of the summer, when batteries for energy storage are also in place. 
The successful completion of the project will mark a new day for islandness around the world, as the proposed technical solutions address interconnection and energy supply security issues, promoting the energy autonomy of islands and minimizing their reliance on expensive and polluting diesel.


“We are very happy with the recognition received by the European Commission and European citizens. Working together with many partners and in close cooperation with the local community, we have a clear objective: to convert Tilos into an island running on renewable energy. More importantly, the TILOS project is showing us the future energy paradigm for the country. In these challenging times for Greece, this is an opportunity for the government to learn from the Tilos example, replicate and scale it up.” said Demetres Karavellas, CEO of WWF Greece.

Notes to editors:
• The Tilos project involves 13 partners from seven EU countries led by the Piraeus University of Applied Sciences Soft Energy Applications and Environmental Protection Laboratory (SEALAB). Greek participants include the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator S.A, the companies Eunice and Eurosol and the environmental NGO WWF Greece. With the support of the local community and the Municipality of Tilos the project aims at achieving maximum energy autonomy of this remote Dodecanese island, that till today relies on electricity provided through subsea cables from the diesel stations in Kos.
• This innovative hybrid energy system, currently at implementation stage, comprises of a medium scale wind turbine, a medium scale PV park and battery energy storage, with the capability also to provide guaranteed energy exports to the island of Kos.
• You can find more information on the project on the TILOS website.
• More information on the awards can be found here.
• TILOS project nomination trailer can be found here.

For more information:
Anthimos Chatzivasileiou, policy communications officer WWF Greece, tel. 210-3314893, cel. 6944989749



The streets of Zakynthos are filled with garbage, as local authority tries to bury municipal waste in landfill illegally operating within the sea turtle Caretta caretta national park and ignores the need for a new and safe sanitary waste disposal site. 


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Published in Euractiv

The revision of the directive governing the operation of the European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) has been one of the most eventful lawmaking processes in recent years, writes Nikos Mantzaris.

The debates amongst various stakeholders and lawmakers about the level of ambition, the exemptions for various industries and the governance of the funding mechanisms have been intense, to say the least.


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Environmental NGOs urge the three littoral countries and the European Union to move quickly ahead with the operation of the transboundary Prespa Park

Last Tuesday, 14th February 2017, was a historic day for Greece’s policy record in the field of nature conservation and sustainable development. The parliament of the country ratified the international ‘Agreement for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park Area’ by an overwhelming majority. The agreement was originally signed on 2nd February 2010 by the Ministers of Environment of the 3 littoral countries and the EU Commissioner for the Environment, but Greece did not ratify it for the 7 years that ensued. Nonetheless, it has now done so and the agreement is free to enter into force and be implemented.


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Published in Euractiv

The European Parliament will decide Wednesday (15 February) on the future of the emissions Trading System (ETS). But in this vote, it’s not just EU’s leadership role in global climate policy at stake, writes Nikos Mantzaris.

Since the ETS is the most mature and sophisticated carbon pricing system globally, Wednesday’s vote will send signals worldwide on how seriously the EU intends to fight climate change.


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