With temperatures in the European South reaching unprecedented levels, climate change is now recognised by citizens as a serious problem for the planet, and they are looking for the solution in the immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and more ambitious targets for the use of renewable energy sources. With this starting point, the Euranet radio show on SKAI 100.3 FM and Korina Georgiou invited Nikos Mantzaris to present recent findings from The Green Tank’s analyses on Greece’s energy records halfway through the year, which mark optimistic steps towards the country’s decoupling from fossil fuels.
Noting that the reality of the climate crisis has now surpassed even scientific predictions, Nikos Mantzaris first stressed the need for immediate and effective actions in both adaptation and mitigation policies, which are the two pillars of climate policy making. The Green Tank’s findings based on available data for the first half of 2023 show that Greece has made significant progress on mitigation.
Indicatively, he said, the country has managed to reduce its fossil gas consumption by almost 22% compared to the first half of 2022; significantly higher than the European average reaching 11 to 11.5%.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the use of lignite for electricity production has decreased by 13% compared to the first half of 2022, marking a new six-month historic low for lignite generated electricity.
At the same time, in the first six months of 2023 renewables have for the first time surpassed gas and lignite cumulatively in electricity production, and within the same period of time, Greece was the 3rd best performer in wind and solar growth among EU countries with the largest share of these technologies in their electricity mix.
But apart from progress in wind and solar energy, a key factor in mitigating the effects of climate change is the continuous reduction of electricity consumption. As Nikos Mantzaris pointed out, Greece in June 2023 completed 12 consecutive months where monthly consumption was lower than the same month of the previous year.
Responding to the journalist’s comment on how to better use renewable energy sources, he stressed the need for both energy storage technologies and modernization of grids, as well as the need for a new and modern spatial planning for the protection of the country’s biodiversity, which is also a shield against climate change. He also pointed out the necessity of measures aimed at immediate and long-term reduction of the carbon footprint as well as measures to support citizens who actively participate in the energy transition by switching to green energy technologies.
The Green Tank will continue to explore the country’s energy records and will present them in a single report by the end of the year.