Greek National Climate Law – The Green Tank at the public hearing

The Green Tank participated in the public hearing on the first National Climate Law at the joint session of the Standing Committee on Production and Trade and the Special Permanent Committee on Environmental Protection and submitted detailed recommendations in the form  of a memo.

The memo notes that compared to the bill submitted for public consultation in November 2021, the level of ambition is lower in several areas, which contradicts the spirit of the reforms currently underway in Europe – both in the REPowerEU plan aiming at phasing out Russian fossil gas by 2027 and the “fit for 55” legislative package with the objective of achieving the -55 % climate target by 2030. In this context, Greece’s Climate Law should be brought in line with the new European reality that calls for an accelerated reduction of emissions and a shift to clean energy and increase in energy efficiency in all sectors of the economy.

The draft law contains many progressive elements such as the setting of ambitious climate targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050, and the establishment of a process for developing sectoral carbon budgets for seven sectors of the economy, an element that exists only in the most progressive climate laws in Europe. The Climate Law also introduces specific ambitious targets such as the mandatory covering of at least 30% of large building surfaces with solar power utilization systems (photovoltaic or solar thermal) or reducing total greenhouse gas emissions in the non-interconnected islands by 80% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. Moreover, it integrates the climate change dimension into environmental permitting, and, in addition to the preparation of plans at the national and regional levels, it includes a number of measures for adaptation to climate change, such as the establishment of a National Observatory for Climate Change Adaptation and the mandatory insurance of housing in highly vulnerable  areas from 2025 onwards.

However, the law needs to be improved in many areas in order to become a modern and effective instrument for the implementation of national climate policy, in line with developments in European climate and energy policy, the requirements of climate science and the urgent need for climate action. In particular, it is necessary to:

  1. Clarify that the climate law sets the climate targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 while the NCEP , formulates the measures and policies required to achieve them while also describes the contribution of each sector of the economy;
  2. Accelerate lignite phase-out by 2025;
  3. Set 2035 as the year in which the country will achieve zero emissions in the electricity production sector;
  4. Set an end date time limit for hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities;
  5. Set targets for the penetration of renewables and the installation of heat pumps for heating in buildings, and bring Article 17 in line with the new reality of European legislation and REPowerEU in terms of new zero-emission buildings from 2030 and the mandatory installation of photovoltaics in new residential buildings from 2029, in new commercial and public buildings from 2026 and in existing commercial and public buildings from 2027;
  6. Make sectoral carbon budgets legally binding;
  7. Set climate targets for the entire industry (within and outside the ETS) exclusively in the respective sectoral carbon budget;
  8. Strengthen nature-based solutions;
  9. Ensure that investments financed for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects with public funds are fully compatible with the rules of the Green Taxonomy Regulation and the relevant delegated acts;
  10. Strengthen citizens’ participation in consultations on climate policy issues (annual progress report and five-year carbon budgets) and establish an annual debate in Parliament on the annual progress report submitted by the Scientific Committee on Climate Change.

The debate on the climate law was held at the Parliament’s competent Committees on May 20-24, 2022.

The Green Tank’s memo is available here in Greek.