Hearing for actors on Just Transition in the Parliament

The Green Tank presented its positions on the bill of the Ministry of Development and Investments “Just Development Transition and regulation of specific coal phase-out issues” at the hearing of the competent Committee of the Greek Parliament.

Representing Green Tank, Nikos Mantzaris commented and submitted proposals for 4 different aspects of the bill. Particularly:

Regarding the Governance Mechanism described in the bill, he stressed its lack of relevance both to the structures described in the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) formally submitted to the European Commission, as well as to the existing governance structures. He also stressed the wrong tendency of over-concentration of responsibilities in the Ministry of Development and Investments and also the problematic logic of management of the 2021-27 operational program that runs through the bill, when it is obvious that the transition to lignite regions will last much longer.

He also criticized the centralized nature of the Governance Mechanism itself and suggested the participation of representatives of local communities, young people from lignite regions, workers and civil society in the governance structures and especially in the Board of Directors of the special purpose vehicle “METAVASI S.A.” will implement the TJTP. In addition, he proposed the participation of lignite municipalities and regions in the share capital of “METAVASI S.A.”.

Regarding the projections for the restoration of the lignite fields, he explained why the “polluter pays” principle does not seem to be implemented: Firstly, the environmental restoration conditions will be implemented only for about 1/3 of the areas that will remain in the ownership of PPC and secondly for the remaining 2/3 that will come into state ownership, both the value of the land and the cost of its restoration, as well as the land uses that affect the restorations are completely unknown. In case the cost of restoration exceeds the value of the land, the state will have losses as it bears the additional financial burden of preparing the lands for other -unknown so far- uses, regardless of whether it will hire PPC using the resources of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

On the key issue of meeting the heating needs of the inhabitants of the lignite regions, he stressed that there is a major issue of choice by the government and the mayors of a solution that is 100% based on fossil gas for climate but also purely economic reasons.

Finally, he proposed that an explicit provision is included in the bill in order for the resources of the Green Fund channeled to the lignite areas to be used exclusively for the implementation of the TJTPs so as to avoid the use of these significant funds, which so far reach 112 million euros, for studies and other low value-added projects, as has been the case for many years with the use of the “local resource” paid by PPC in the lignite regions.

You can watch the Green Tank’s initial input in the hearing for actors in the Standing Committee of Production and Trade of the Parliament on the draft law (in Greek) here:

In his second speech, Nikos Mantzaris answered the questions of MPs on a number of issues, such as the adequacy of resources for the transition, the comparison of the Greek governance mechanism with that of other European countries, the problems of energy communities, the cost of electricity generation from lignite compared to fossil gas and RES, as well as the positive prospects of the conversion of Ptolemaida 5 and other lignite plants into “clean” thermal storage infrastructure for electricity from RES.

And Green Tank’s answers to MPs’ questions (in Greek) here:

Watch the whole discussion of the Committee on Production and Trade (in Greek) here.

You can read the detailed comments the Green Tank sent to the MPs of the Committee on Production and Trade (in Greek) here.