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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

K. Mitsotakis at Politico on the climate crisis: Time is running out for all of us

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The Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, refers to the 6 + 1 points program for the climate implemented by our country in an article published in Politico, in which he points out, among other things, that in order to face the climate crisis “we must set ambitious goals, act quickly and to take the lead by opening roads ".

The six initiatives concern shipping, tourism, renewable energy sources, coal emissions, green energy interconnections and ecosystem protection and, as Mr. Mitsotakis points out, are supported by a new Climate Law, the final draft of which will be approved by the Council of Ministers this week ".

It is noted that the Council of Ministers is expected to meet on Thursday.

The article of the Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Politico is as follows:

"Time is running out for all of us. Greeks experience first hand what is happening.
Last summer our country, quite simply, was faced with the flames. We all experienced the dramatic and catastrophic consequences of global warming with record temperatures that remained for many days above 40 degrees Celsius. What followed was an unprecedented environmental disaster with forest fires destroying valuable ecosystems within days.

What is happening is not just climate change in action and in progress, but an unprecedented threat to our way of life and the future of our children. And to deal with it, we must set ambitious goals, act quickly and take the lead by paving the way. Because if we have the courage to work together - quickly, on a large scale, and starting now - overcoming financial difficulties, we can build something new through this crisis.

Greece is a medium-sized European country, a shipping power with 20% of the world merchant fleet and an important tourist destination. We could possibly be content with the role of observer simply waiting for the others, the countries responsible for the largest greenhouse gas emissions, to act. After all, the amount of carbon dioxide we emit is relatively small. But we will not do it. Even smaller countries, such as Greece, can significantly influence the green transition internationally.

Along with eight other EU member states, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia, Greece recently adopted the Athens Declaration on Climate Change, which focuses on mitigating the effects on the climate throughout the Mediterranean.

We have also created the Ministry of Climate Crisis and are implementing a 6 + 1 point program for the climate throughout Greece. Six initiatives - on shipping, tourism, renewable energy, coal emissions, green energy interconnections and ecosystem protection - supported by a new Climate Law covering all these issues, the final draft of which will be approved by the Council of Ministers this week.

The green transition is, however, a capital-intensive transformation. Greece has so far managed to mobilize significant European resources to deal with the effects of climate change. But this is not enough. Europe needs more innovative approaches to financing and fundraising on a scale commensurate with the work we undertake at the collective level. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that when the need arises, we can fund research and innovation on a large scale with great results.

We must therefore work to support smart infrastructure that is interoperable and transnational across borders, governed by transparency, accessible and securely harmonized with the rules of equal competition. We can only put new ideas and innovative ventures into practice if the private sector, governments and investors work together. We must therefore remove barriers to capital investment internationally and support the markets that will be created, as well as the ideas on which green technology and alternative fuels will be based.

This involves investing in renewable energy sources, such as offshore wind and research and development (R&D) projects, such as the new EU Sustainable Shipping Research Institute, which supports the development of green technology ideas aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. footprint of shipping in the future. But also projects such as those of Astypalea and Halki, which will turn these islands into 100% green and energy autonomous destinations for sustainable tourism with the support of Volkswagen and Citroën.

If we can work together, we can build the green industrial revolution of the future. We can connect our citizens and businesses with the benefits of the green transition. It is time to realize that halting this crisis is not a cost-raising burden that jeopardizes economic growth. It is the opposite: a green technology revolution with enormous wealth-producing and redistributive potential. ”

Apostolos Chondropoulos

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