Greek activists urge PM to push EU on climate change

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Greek activists petitioned Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday to push EU leaders harder for climate change initiatives at the upcoming European Council on June 20 and 21.

The upcoming Council meeting in Brussels is expected to adopt the EU's strategic agenda for 2019-20224 and discuss climate change ahead of the UN's Climate Action Summit on September 23.

Greek activist organisations such as Doctors without Borders, the Greek Forum of Refugees, ActionAid, Greenpeace and WWF Hellas, warned however that the Paris Agreement goal to hold global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels may be missed entirely, at the current rate of implemented measures. The Agreement entered into force in 2016 with 55 signatory countries.

"A global rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius means a 40% rise in the number of fires in the Mediterranean region and a 10% rise of rainstorms. However, the existing European climate policy is consistent with outcomes of a temperature rise of over 3 degrees Celsius. This would have disastrous and irreversible repercussions for Greece."

The organisations said that "up to now, Europe has not decided to harmonise its climate targets with those of the Paris Agreement." Doing so, they said, would mean introducing significant changes in the EU's common energy and climate policy within the next two years.

"Under these historical circumstances, Mr Prime Minister, we call on you to vote in June's European Council a proposal for Europe's transition to a zero-carbon footprint with a socially just way, to 2050," they urged, adding the request that "we furthermore propose that you support and undersign a relevant non-paper promoted on France's initiative over the same issue."

In addition, they said, the upcoming general elections in Greece "provide yet another reason to assume this initiative, as they signal the country's unassailable intention to do whatever is necessary for the climate crisis, and provide a clear message to the whole political spectrum in the country."

Besides the above mentioned organisations, the petition is signed by the Agroecological Network of Greece, Aeiforum, Wind of Renewal, Arsis, Doctors of the World, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Greece Youth, the Hellenic Platform for Development, Kentro Zois (Center of Life), the Ecological Recycling Society, the Ecological Initiative of Chania, the Organization Earth (Organosi Gi), the People's Initiative Save the Continent, HIGGS (Higher Incubator Giving Growth & Sustainability0, IFOAM AgriBioMediterraneo, Medasset, and No Oil of Thesprotia.