Developments and trends in Greece’s climate policy

Drawing on recent findings of The Green Tank’s analyses, Ioli Christopoulou talked about developments and trends in Greece’s climate policy at the opening session of the Carbon Fast Forward Conference Mediterranean 2023.

Specifically, she highlighted the ambitious targets included in the 1st Greek National Climate Law, and the announced draft National Energy and Climate Plan, and on the other hand, some alarming developments related to the construction of new fossil gas infrastructure, and the possible delay in Greece’s lignite phase out.

She then provided data showing how renewables displace lignite and gas in electricity production, and how Greece, in line with EU’s objectives, succeeded in reducing its domestic gas consumption and its dependence on Russian gas in the midst of the energy crisis.

Focusing on the EU Emissions Trading System’s performance in Greece & the EU, Ioli Christopoulou presented latest findings from the annual analysis by The Green Tank, highlighting changes in sectoral shares. She showed the impressive reduction of emissions by 63.9% between 2005 and 2022 in the Greek electricity and heat production sector that has the lion’s share of Greece’s emissions. The industrial sector also reduced its emissions by a total of 12.5 million tons of CO2 in 2022, accounting for a 30.5% cut compared to 2005, mostly as a result of the long financial crisis on the 2010s.

She also presented data showing that despite lignite production being in decline, lignite plants still have the largest share of  emissions among all EU ETS subsectors. In 2022, refineries held the largest share of the industry sector’s emissions (47.3%), leaving cement production plants in second place (36.4%).

In her concluding remarks, Ioli Christopoulou noted that the major climate progress in recent years is mostly due to the massive decline in lignite production. Despite positive developments, the country still stands far away from the NECP 2030 goals even for electricity sector, and more decisive energy and industrial policies are needed.

Ioli Christopoulou’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Constantinos Cartalis, Professor, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Nikos Tsouris, Energy Management Analyst, Heron. The discussion was moderated by Ben Garside, Director and Co-founder, Carbon Pulse.

The Carbon Fast Forward Conference Mediterranean 2023 was held in Athens on June 22, 2023.