WWF & Greenpeace address EU Commissioners on the opening of Greece’s lignite market
The big lignite sale now happening in Greece, under supervision and pressure by the European Commission, prolongs the country’s dependence on dirty coal and negates the EU’s policies for coal phase-out.
Under the umbrella of antitrust EU rules, the European Commission has been pushing Greece to regulate the sale of PPC coal plants and mines, a process now in its final stages, instead of allowing other viable options leading to rapid coal phase-out. In reality, the Commission’s position leads to new dirty coal, according to terms especially attractive to investors: license for a new 450MW lignite power plant (Meliti II), favourable licensing conditions for operating plants (Megalopoli, supplied by the lowest thermal quality lignite deposits in the EU, and Meliti I).
Through its catalytic role in the big coal sale, the Commission essentially pushes for the revival of an economically dying market, which is also subject to specific environmental regulations as heavily polluting and climate catastrophic. In particular, new investments in coal will seriously undermine Greece’s prospects of meeting its climate obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement.
In a common letter addressed to Commissioners Pierre Moscovici (Economic and Financial Affairs), Margrethe Vestager (Competition), Karmenu Vella (Environment), Miguel Arias Cañete (Energy) and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič (Energy Union), the Greek and EU offices of WWF and Greenpeace call for:
- an urgent climate evaluation of the divestment of 40% of PPC’s coal assets,
- a thorough reconsideration of the sale, in view of the target of achieving net zero emissions by 2040 and meeting Paris Climate Agreement objectives.
Greece should be encouraged to follow the lignite phase-out route which, one after another, its EU counterparts are following, while at the same time financially supporting the just transition of the lignite regions of Greece towards sustainable economic activities.
Read the letter.