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Bankwatch Romania: The elimination of coal from the energy mix by 2032 is an insufficient measure

16 June 2021

Bogdan Tudorache

The elimination of coal from the energy mix until 2032 is not enough for Romania to be able to reach its climate targets and to really contribute to reducing the effects of heating, says Bankwatch Romania.

“The climate crisis is now! The latest findings show that the warming threshold of 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period will be reached much faster, in 2025. In this context, the world’s countries should accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gases. Studies show that in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, EU countries must give up coal by 2030, the latest. The European Union has committed itself to reducing GHGs by at least 55% by 2030, more than the initial target of 40%. But it’s still not enough. Specialists show that globally GHGs should be reduced by at least 65% by 2030 in order to reach zero net GHG emissions in 2050,” say the association’s representatives.

“Black coal represents only 2% of Romania’s energy mix, the largest amount of emissions in the entire economic system being attributed to lignite, which produces 17-20% of electricity annually. In 2019, according to EU-ETS data, in Romania coal had emissions of 1.18 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), while lignite exceeded 12 million tons.”

In addition, black coal-fired power plants have been shut down for economic and environmental reasons anyway. Mintia has already been preserved. The thermal power plant exceeds the limits for sulfur dioxide (SO2) and dust (PM), substances that affect human health, and cannot receive an integrated environmental permit, which is why Romania has been in the infringement procedure for four years. The entire Hunedoara Energy Complex (which operates coal-fired power plants) is insolvent and has debts of 6 billion lei in 2020.

“The decision and timetable for the elimination of coal mentioned in the PNRR, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must also be reflected in the Territorial Plans for a fair transition, in order to be able to propose projects and measures to mitigate the social impact. The PTTJs have already been submitted to the Ministry of European Investments and Projects at the end of May, so the decision to give up coal, which is also incomplete, comes late. It is also necessary to set the date for the removal of lignite so that the fair transition in Gorj and Dolj can be planned in a coherent way,” added the Bankwatch officials.

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