The commitments announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the UN Climate Action Summit, that Greece will shut down all lignite power plants by 2028 and ban single-use plastics by 2021, are welcomed by WWF Greece as bold steps towards reducing the country’s environmental footprint.

For Greece, the phase out of lignite needs to be part of a broader ambitious decarbonisation plan, with one clear goal - zero net emissions by 2040 at the latest. In this context, while WWF Greece congratulates the government on its commitment for lignite phase out, the country’s increasing attention on hydrocarbons, is an issue of great concern. The ongoing hydrocarbon frenzy which started during the economic crisis, threatens to lock Greece’s energy system into a high greenhouse gas emissions model for the next decades.

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement for phasing out lignite as a very positive move in addressing the climate crisis. However, we fail to understand why his government at the very same time insists on drilling for oil and gas. Just last week, four new contracts with petroleum companies were submitted by the government to the Greek Parliament for voting, opening new marine areas of 50,000 sq. km to hydrocarbon exploration and drilling. We are asking for consistency in energy policy at a time when science around the climate crisis has become crystal clear – the fossil fuels need to stay in the ground”, says Demetres Karavellas, WWF Greece’s Director General.