by Ritvik Dutta
The novel reiteration of the EU-wide climate law has caused a massive shift in the effort towards mitigating the rate of climate change by many countries in the European Union. Established in March of 2020, the law was created through the collaboration of all the countries belonging to the EU. Together, they all sought to set goals on the overall reduction of net greenhouse gas production by all EU nations to zero by 2050. This has led to many European countries scrambling to find solutions. Statistically in the European Union, transport ranks as the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and as of 2018, around 308 million cars circulate the coalition of countries. Of those countries, Norway, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden are all in the top 10 in terms of PEV (plug-in electric vehicle) sales worldwide. On the other hand, however, Greece ranks as tenth in the total number of cars in the European Union with around 5.2 million cars, and yet, only a measly portion of Greece’s cars are good for the environment: one thousand cars are electric or hybrids.
This matter presents itself as an alarming statistic and Greek officials have taken note. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis recently held an event last Friday in which he commented on Greece’s plans to move to a low-carbon mobility system in order to abide by the EU-wide climate law. The Thomson Reuters Foundation reports that the Prime Minister explained at the event that Greece aims to focus the majority of its climate mitigation efforts in its capital city, Athens. Greece hopes to have at least 1 in every 3 cars in Athens to be a PEV by the year 2030. They plan on achieving this by subsidizing the purchases of new electric vehicles. Currently, they have about 100 million euros which Mitsotakis believes will “cover 25% of the cost for about 14,000 new electric cars.” Furthermore, the government is adding the exemption from any parking fines for the next two years for all the new PEVs that are purchased. Greece also plans to create subsidies for the purchase of electric taxis for the taxi services and set up multiple charging stations across the country.
In the wake of the coronavirus, carbon emissions in Athens have been steadily declining due to the prompted closures. Per Vox Media, Athens has also expanded infrastructure for bikes by adding more bike lanes, an implementation that may or may not be permanent in due time. Although steady progress towards climate mitigation is being made within Greece, the final goal to completely neutralize net greenhouse gas output still seems like a daunting task. Whether or not the country is able to fulfill its promises is left to be seen.