Climate action
Slovakian President Image credit: AP/TASR

The UN Climate Action Summit in New York on 23 September saw global leaders in government and the private sector meet to tackle the pressing challenges to the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable energy future, but commitments made by three countries stood out amongst those represented.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Hungarian President János Áder used their time on the podium to commit their respective countries to eliminate the use of polluting fossil fuels as part of their national efforts to reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

To date, Greece has relied heavily on coal as the backbone of the country’s power mix and a new lignite plant currently under construction is expected to remain operational beyond the 2050 climate change deadline doesn’t bode well, but Mitsotakis plans to unveil the country’s strategy by the end of 2019.

Addressing the summit, he said: “For us, it is not just an obligation but a great economic opportunity.

“Our goal is to close all lignite power plants by the latest 2028, despite the fact that we remain a big producer of lignite, brown coal.”

Hungarian President János Áder also announced plans to phase out coal-powered electricity production by 2030, but perhaps the boldest commitment made from the podium was voiced by Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová, announcing that the country had taken the “politically unthinkable decision to close our coal mines,” a move she says will “need a serious transformation of our country”, which currently has energy subsidies in place, but these are set to expire in 2023.

The Hungarian President noted the nations will rid themselves of the polluting fossil fuel to help reduce emissions and tackle climate change.

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