Friday, January 20, 2017

Energy poverty and pollution in Greece

A symptom of Greek economic crisis is air pollution as people switch to burning wood instead of more heavily taxed heating oil/electricity

Greece's economic crisis grinds on for yet another year

One of the symptom or perhaps better put, a victim of the economic crisis in Greece is air quality, especially in large cities such as Athens  and Thessaloniki as people switch from using heating oil and electricity to burning wood in order to heat their homes.

The government's attempt to claw in revenue by massively increasing taxation on the heating oil that used to be the staple of central heating boilers in many urban apartment blocks has seen many residents abandon them, unable to pay for the oil that fuelled them. In addition, in Greece people are wary of running up massive electricity bills and so are loathed to rely just on it for heating.

In their place many people have returned to traditional wood burning stoves which produce far more air pollution than other forms of heating and in built up urban areas have led to a serious decline in air quality, especially when combined with other sources of smog such as car exhaust fumes.

The recent bitterly cold spell in Greece dramatically brought to the fore energy poverty, yet another entry in a long list of woes that Greeks have had to face since the start of the economic crisis in 2009. Even after years of supposed bail outs and mandated economic "adjustments" (Read cuts in health, educational spending, pensions etc) the economy continues to wither and die on the vine, starved on capital and the prospect of improvement any time soon.

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