Greenpeace sends open letter to PM Tsipras urging shift to cleaner power

14 December 2015
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Greenpeace on Monday sent an open letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calling for a shift toward clean energy in Greece, in the wake of the climate change agreement signed by 196 countries in Paris, noting that “fossil fuels are now officially on the wrong side of history.”

Signed by the director of Greenpeace Greece Nikos Haralambidis, the letter asked Tsipras to take action to take Greek energy policy in a new direction, aligned with the Paris agreement for phasing out fossil fuels by 2050. Among others, it called for the cancellation of plans to build more coal- and oil-fired power plants and a switch to renewables and energy conservation.

Such a shift would be vehemently fought by the local fossil fuel lobbies that until now had largely controlled the country’s energy policy, Greenpeace warned, while highlighting the problems this had created.

“Consider only what has been done in the past year: Greece in a time of economic crisis is continuing to promote investments of billions of euros in technologically outdated lignite, oil and natural gas units, rather than energy upgrades of our homes and decentralised production of clean energy. It is forcing thousands of small and medium renewable energy producers to subsidise energy-hungry and polluting heavy industry (through the interruptibility law) rather than the opposite.

The Public Power Corporation (PPC), in the framework of negotiations for our country’s climate policy has asked to be exempted from Europe’s only tool of climate policy (emission trading rights) with the energy ministry’s support.”

The letter noted that the Paris agreement gave Tsipras a unique opportunity to finally change the direction of energy policy in Greece and that he would have the support of an “overwhelming majority of Greek citizens that want ambitious targets for the development of renewable energy and energy savings in Greece”.

It also noted that the current economic conjuncture was not an obstacle to such a change, which was in fact mandatory for a quick exit from the recession and the protection of vulnerable social groups from energy poverty.

“Mr. Prime Minister, the Paris Agreement ratified with all pomp and circumstance the beginning of the end for dirty energy. For our country the future belongs to the sun and not to coal. We call on you to decide on which side of history you will put Greece,” it added.

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