Greece has to draw up its own plan for facing climate change and reducing emissions, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, calling for an “aggressive policy that will contribute to renewable energy sources.”
“Our stance cannot be one of indifference or only perfunctory compliance since the problem affects us directly,” he said, noting that there must be a political answer to the problem of climate change.
Speaking at an event on “Climate change and new policies: international community, European Union and Greece,” at the Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, Mitsotakis also stressed the need to boost what he called Greece’s “anaemic” awareness of environmental issues.
“Climate change is an indisputable fact and the phenomenon is anthropogenic,” Mitsotakis told his audience, outlining the effects that rising temperatures will have on the planet and calling for ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Achieving this goal is a global issue,” he added, presenting the five main points of the Paris agreement, which he described as “exceptionally important”.
Noting that such issues were unfortunately not discussed in Greece, ND’s leader said he had served as chairman of the relevant committee in Parliament and that ND had helped dispel the myth that environmental sensitivity was the exclusive province of the left.
The main weakness of climate change agreements was the absence of mechanisms to impose sanctions, Mitsotakis noted, saying there had to be “a powerful momentum in order to put pressure of the leadership of countries.” He also outlined the dire predictions about Greece.
“This discussion is particularly crucial in our country because we must understand that Greece is on the front line of countries threatened by climate change,” he said, outlining a future with rising seas, more days of extreme heat and more frequent extreme weather events.
“The excessive borrowing of the previous generation has saddled the next generation with a disproportionate burden and we are seeing the equivalent phenomenon on the issue of the environment. We must understand that we are borrowing the environment from the next generation,” he added, stressing that protecting the environment did not undermine growth.
“There are clearly areas where growth clashes with protection of the environment. Any comparative advantage that Greece possesses, however, is linked to the protection of our natural environment. The environment itself is our comparative advantage,” ND’s leader concluded.