Will the new climate change law bring “drastic cuts in emissions”?

The Greek government plans to pass a new climate law in the near future, designed to provide “drastic cuts in emissions.”

The law, which is expected to be presented for public comment later this week, stipulates, among other things, the end of the sale of cars running on gasoline or diesel fuel by 2030, a ban on heating oil, compulsory insurance of buildings located in high risk.

The law will set quantitative targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% in 2030 compared to 1990 and by 80% in 2040, with the aim of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, which is the EU’s target.

The targets will be revised every 5 years and will include seven economic sectors: electricity and heat production, transport, industry, construction, agriculture and livestock, waste, and land use and forestry.

Some of the basic rules that are expected to be introduced include the following:

Higher utilization rate of renewable energy sources to achieve the target of up to 70% of final energy consumption by 2030. Zero emissions for all new taxis in Attica and Thessaloniki from 2025, as well as one third of new rental cars; by 2023, at least a quarter of new private vehicles leased for business must be electric or hybrid; From 2030, all new passenger cars and light professional vehicles must be guaranteed zero emissions. By 2030, a ban on the use of crude oil for electricity generation on islands not connected to the mainland; the islands have to look for alternative / renewable energy solutions, as do the outlying islands such as Halki and Tilos. From 2023, it will be prohibited to install boilers running on diesel or fuel oil in buildings with access to an adequate gas network. They will be banned from 2030. In addition, from 2025, all buildings in areas of high erosion or high risk must be insured by law, otherwise they will not be provided with electricity. In the industry, environmental reporting and approval will be expanded to include more cases. Pollutants will be required to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2022, while all businesses employing more than 500 people will be required to publish annual reports showing their carbon footprint.

The bill also introduces the National Climate Change Adaptation Observatory, which will work with the National Meteorological Service and other agencies to observe climate data and provide forecasts.

PS Considering that more than 50% of buildings in Greece are heated with heating oil or diesel fuel, the population will either have to ignore the law, or switch to heating … with wood. This has already happened in recent years, due to a sharp rise in the cost of heating oil and diesel fuel. The result is even more severe air pollution in cities and other settlements in Greece.

Smog levels in many Greek cities have risen in recent years, mainly as a result of an increased reliance on fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, which are used as cheaper alternatives for heating homes.

Due to significantly higher prices for fuel oil, associated with a high excise tax on fuel, many residents of Greece switched to cheaper, albeit significantly less heat-intensive and environmentally friendly, wood heating.

According to Eurostat data, more than a quarter of the Greek population cannot afford normal heating, basking with the help of electric heaters, warm clothes or wood-burning stoves.

Despite the fact that Greece located in southern Europe, in most regions, the average daily air temperature from November to mid-April does not exceed 10 degrees Celsius. In this regard, the heating season often lasts up to 5 months.

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