The failure of the bid for the divestment of 40% of the Public Power Corporation’s (PPC) lignite capacity comes as no surprise. Once again, coal proves to be a dying market, unprofitable even if the huge cost on health and environment is ignored.


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By Demetres Karavellas and Nikos Charalambides

While other EU countries, such as Germany, announce plans for coal phase-out within the next 20 years in compliance with their Paris Agreement commitments, Greece’s future appears locked in carbon for decades to come, write Demetres Karavellas and Nikos Charalambides.


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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.



Non-transparent and favouritist licensing procedures for oil and natural gas drilling, the deadly wildfire and flood in Attica, non-compliance with decisions of the EU Court of Justice, and financial penalties for illegal waste management, which now exceed 100 million euros, are a few of the developments which set the dramatic scene for environmental protection in Greece.


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A total of 783 nests & 93,960 eggs were recorded solely on Sekania beach over the past year. Nevertheless, Caretta caretta still faces threats that endanger the species’ future in the Mediterranean, and needs our help now more than ever.


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Fourteen environmental non-governmental organizations in Greece, have expressed their satisfaction regarding the issuance of a Presidential Decree for the Kyparissia Bay (EU Natura 2000 sites GR 2550005, GR 2330005 and GR 2330008).

© Joakim Odelberg / WWF Greece


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A dead Griffon vulture was found at a short distance from a wind turbine in the regional unit of Rhodope, in Thrace, Greece on September 26.From the vulture’s movements, as recorded by the satellite transmitter that was fitted on the bird on June 2018 as part of the LIFE Vulture (LIFE14 NAT/NL/000901) project, the findings on the ground and the expert autopsy and analyses it is clear that the vulture died after a collision with a wind turbine.  


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WWF is shocked by the tragic loss of life and nature in Greece. Extraordinary weather conditions (high temperatures and wind gusts reaching 100km/hr), badly managed forests and deficiencies in the civil protection systems all contributed to this tragic event. As climate change renders forests more valuable, but also more vulnerable to fire, it is now becoming dramatically clear that housing agglomerations in forests and woodlands run increasing risk from fire.


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Published in just-transition.info

The shift from coal to a low-emission or zero-emission economy is now an inevitable reality due to recent changes in European environmental legislation (ETS reform, Industrial Emissions Directive, new Large Combustion Plants Best Reference Document, etc.) and impressive progress in renewables and energy storage technologies. 

The question is no longer whether or not we will abandon coal but when.


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Published in just-transition.info

Is there a socially acceptable phasing out process for coal mining? What are the impacts on the employees and is there such a thing as a “socially responsible staff adjustment”? What were the challenges for governments, trade unions, the private sector and civil society?

These were just a few of the questions that we were eventually answered after the study trip organized by WWF Germany (19-22/03/2018) in the ex coal-dependent area of Ruhr in Germany. This study trip was part of the project entitled “Just Transition in Southeastern Europe,” which is supported by the European Climate Initiative of the German Ministry of Environment and focuses on three countries in Southeastern Europe, namely Bulgaria, Poland and Greece.


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