Greece is moving faster than expected to phase out coal-fired power plants, as the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis steps up efforts to tackle the effects of the global climate crisis.
“We said we would do it by 2028,” Mr Mitsotakis said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Thursday, referring to his government’s target for closing the plants. “I think it will be possible to do it by 2025.”
Mr Mitsotakis called on European allies to speed up their efforts to address climate change after record-high temperatures in the summer sparked a series of blazes in the country, scorching forests, farmland and populated areas.
Now the continent is also facing soaring energy prices, with the spectre of unmanageable utility bills for some households and businesses.
“We have made a commitment to support electricity users in Greece,” Mr Mitsotakis said. “We are doing it by providing state funding but also encouraging electricity producers to absorb part of the cost increase.”
As a result, Greeks “will not see significant increases in electricity bills in the next three to six months”, he pledged.
Athens called this weekfor the creation of an EU-funded mechanism to use revenue from extra sales of carbon permits to limit the impact of soaring energy costs.
“This is a real problem for Europe and it needs a European response,” Mr Mitsotakis said.
After Greece revised its full-year growth forecast to 5.9 per cent following a robust second quarter, with output reaching pre-pandemic levels, Mr Mitsotakis indicated that the target may prove to be too conservative.
“This may be a pessimistic forecast,” Mr Mitsotakis said.