First Greek climate lawsuit targets LNG license

Posted on June, 14 2024

Additional legal argumentation has been submitted before the Greek Council of State for the cancellation of the permits granted to the Alexandroupolis LNG regasification terminal

The first climate lawsuit in Greece is pending before the Council of State, the supreme administrative court. Earlier this week, additional grounds have been filed in support of the December 2023 request for annulment of the administrative permits of a LNG regasification and storage industrial system. The additional grounds filed by the four plaintiff organisations focus on the serious climate impact of liquefied fossil gas (LNG). The litigation case seeks the annulment of the administrative permits granted in 2023 by the Ministry of Environment and Energyfor the construction and operation of the floating regasification LNG system (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis, the capital city of Thrace. The project is located within a protected Natura 2000 marine area. This important case is brought before the Court by the environmental groups WWF Greece, Greenpeace, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, the Hellenic Ornithological Society and MEDASSET.

For the first time, the Greek judiciary is called to decide whether a fossil fuel, in this case LNG, can be promoted as an alternative source of energy in conditions of severe climate crisis and, indeed, without a prior assessment of its climate footprint. As all of Greece is severely impacted by record high temperatures for twelve consecutive months, while the climate crisis is already causing particularly serious impacts on the sea of Thrace, which is characterised by a very sharp rise in average sea temperatures, allowing more fossil gas only leads to wasted public subsidies, stranded assets and the planet towards climate catastrophe.

The environmental groups focus on the critical issue of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane, which are not at all examined in the project’s impact assessment.  The case builds on the recent European Court of Human Rights ruling (Verein Klimasiniorinnen Schweiz and Others), which held that the European Convention on Human Rights establishes an obligation to prevent the negative impacts of climate change on human life and health.

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