The political positions of the Greek parliamentary parties on the environment, climate crisis and energy – May 2023

The political positions of the Greek parliamentary parties on the environment, climate crisis and energy

The environment and its protection, the adaptation to the climate crisis norms and energy costs, are now crucial areas of the politics and policies of all states, and it could not be otherwise, both because of the terrifying effects of climate change that are already making their presence clearer than ever, as well as the increasing energy costs, as we have seen with the war in Ukraine.

The parties in the Greek parliament maintain some stable positions on these issues, while the environment/energy issue was part of the recent (12/05/23) political leaders’ debate.

The opinions of the political leaders differs on an absolute manner, from the complete focus on Renewable Energy Sources and the abolition of fossil fuels, up to… the exact opposite of this, while there is no shortage of milder attitudes, which favour a mix of systems, so that α more smoothly the energy transition to the most environmentally friendly sources. This attitude is also that of the ruling party, which has been following this policy in practice for the last 4 years, with the de-lignitization plans, however, having been extended, due to the minor – as it turned out – energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine

The main positions of the parties are followed, as expressed by their leaders in the debate, but also as stated in their pre-election programs.

NEW DEMOCRACY – Liberal conservative political party (currently the ruling party)

The governmental program includes the European commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050, while the trend of gradual lignitization and increasing the contribution of RES to the energy balance is clear.

The recent terrible destruction of forest wealth has led to actions to strengthen civil protection and forest fire-fighting means, but as it has been proven in the field, nothing at all guarantees that a similar destruction will not occur, with human controllable means.

Prime Minister Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as he was asked during the debate, stated clearly that the priority is the reduction of energy prices, but also the orientation towards “green” transport, such as the railway, in the shadow of course of the tragedy of the train accident caused many young lives at Tempi in North Greece, earlier this year.

In particular, the Prime Minister emphasized on the subsidies for electricity bills, 70% of which were achieved by the over taxation of electricity providers as he stated, but also on the deconstruction of opponent’s announcements on tax reductions, without however giving more information for the party’s program concerning the environment and the energy policy that will follow.

SYRIZA – The Coalition of the Radical Left – Progressive Alliance

SYRIZA has a targeted pillar in its program, quite high, the protection of the environment and the response to climate change, proposing a set of measures.

In his program he promises to give extensive powers to the Ministry of Environment, which will coordinate environmental and climate policy, while he talks about expanding the national network of protected areas. In general, it also covers a series of adaptation actions to climate change, such as drought management plans, while promising the goal of climate neutrality by 2045.

It gives the impression that despite the positive developments that have been made with hydrocarbon research, SYRIZA promises to cancel them entirely, by not renewing the research permits. For energy, his party has the following to recommend:

“We are preparing a new national plan for Energy and Climate, with the aim of the smooth weaning of the country from all fossil fuels (and from natural gas) with energy security and not with a unilateral cessation of lignite and with an emphasis on smart networks, on new technologies, energy storage, electrification for public transport, commercial fleets, and households”.

Alexis Tsipras the leader of SYRIZA, in the debate also focused on energy prices and the nationalization of PPC.

PASOK -Movement for Change – Centre left

The leader of the party Nikos Androulakis, being in the European parliament for almost a decade, where the environment is always a priority, he referred to specific measures in the debate to promote RES, as European policies require.

He pointed out that is a must, to link de-lignification with investment in grids and storage. The result will be the reduction of dependence on natural gas,” he stated while emphasizing that there should be a substantial diffusion of RES in society, mentioning as a solution “the possibility of installing photovoltaic parks by farmers and private individuals on the roofs.” On the same subject, he said that a broad “save” program would be necessary for households through which they would be protected from energy price fluctuations.

PASOK’s proposals for the Environment are summarized as follows:

  • Investments in networks – access of all citizens to RES production with the development of energy communities
  • Fair transition for lignite areas.
  • Strengthening civil protection with modern means and renewed prevention plans.
  • Strengthening the management bodies of the ecosystems

ΚΚΕCommunist Party of Greece

The general secretary of KKE, Dimtiris Koutsoumpas doesn’t believe in “green transition” at least as Europe defines it and proposes a system of utilization of all domestic energy sources “with socialization and with a central scientific planning of the state with the participation of workers and scientists”.

Greek Solution – Right wing (Ultranationalists)

Kyriakos Velopoulos, founder of the party, is not convinced about the prospects of a complete transition to green energy and believes that our country should extract and exploit all hydrocarbon reserves. “When we become government, we will extract natural gas and oil and link it to pensions and wages so that Greeks can get decent and reliable pensions.” “Green energy does not make you independent. Not saved. Greece will become an oil producing country”, he added.

MeRA25 – The European Realistic Disobedience Front

Gianis Varoufakis the founder of the political party, believes in RES and especially on floating wind turbines – as they can be recycled, while he also spoke out against mining.

“Mining is not a solution” and the only thing they offer, as he said, is “geopolitical tensions in the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean”.

The issue, according to G. Varoufakis, is whether our country will catch up with the green revolution. He complained that not all the corresponding resources of the Recovery Fund were invested in a green development plan proposed by MeRA25-Alliance for the Break.

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