The Bulgarian government has announced that it will not phase out coal until 2040.
This makes it the twentieth European country to announce a coal exit date but like other nations such as Germany (2038) and Montenegro (2035), the date is considered far too long away to have the required impacts needed for climate change.
That’s the view of green campaigners such as Greenpeace Bulgaria and Europe Beyond Coal, which have already pointed to the fact the Bulgarian coal industry is on the brink of collapse and out of date.
Reportedly, an estimated €1 billion (£845m) of upgrades are required to align the country’s coal industry with EU emission standards, with its largest coal power plant in more than €760 million (£642m) of debt.
Bulgaria’s date for a coal exit puts it far behind its neighbours – with Greece, North Macedonia and Romania having all announced dates between 2025 and 2032.
Desislava Mikova, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Bulgaria, said: “The Bulgarian government’s dragged-out coal exit fails to protect its people and allows coaligarchs to continue scooping up millions in taxpayer’s money, while polluting our air and water.
“A just transition in Bulgaria would not only put an end to this but would help combat the climate emergency and breathe new life into devastated local environments and communities monopolised by coal.
“The EU’s just transition funds are vital in accelerating this process. Our country can’t afford to miss out on them.”
Kathrin Gutmann, Europe Beyond Coal, added: “Bulgaria, Montenegro and Germany are making a mistake in setting a slow coal phase out that does not match what is happening economically or socially. Coal power is hurtling towards a 2030 exit across Europe and no amount of wishful thinking for later phase-outs will stop this.”
Energy Live News has contacted the Bulgarian Ministry of Energy for a response.