Greek PM believes in climate change, promises plastics ban and national energy policy



Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented his case to the UN Climate Summit 2019 in New York yesterday, Monday, where he declared to adopt a resolution on the protection of the cultural and natural heritage from climate change, adopt a national energy policy and ban single-use plastic.

During his presentation, Mitsotakis acknowledged the repercussions of climate change and promised policies that will address the issue and in particular in the context of the protection of Greece’s cultural heritage.

He also promised the shutdown of lignite-run power production units by 2028 and the increase in the share of renewable resources to 35% by 2030 and said that his government placed the management of climate change fallout at the center of its policies.

As he explained, Greece's economic future is linked to its ability to protect its unique natural environment. The rise of sea levels threatens our shores and our islands. Extreme weather like storms, floods and heatwaves are catastrophic for Greek society and Greek economy.

He also warned that climate change will also act as an obstacle to economic development and to the prosperity of the Greek people, as it will adversely affect economic sectors such as agriculture and tourism. Greece, he noted is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and the UN Agenda for 2030, with its 17 global Sustainable Development Goals, and strongly supports the long-term strategic vision by 2050 of an EU economy that does not burden the climate.

Referring to the actions Greece has taken and plans to take, the Greek Prime Minister said that his government would adopt a new and ambitious national strategy for energy and the climate by the end of the year. "Our goal is to shut down all lignite-run electricity production units by 2028, and we plan to ban all single-use plastics throughout Greece by 2021."

Climate change could also disturb traditional ways of life in Greece, which is very concerned about possible climate change repercussions to its cultural and natural heritage, Mitsotakis said. A conference he organised in June 2018, he said, reached conclusions that were incorporated in the UN summit on climate change.

Greece intends to convene a high-level conference in Athens in 2020 to adopt a proposal for the protection of cultural and natural heritage from the repercussions of climate change."

Wrapping up his address, Mitsotakis referred to the landmark Battle of Salamis, where the Athenian navy defeated the much larger navy of Persia and changed the course of history. "2020 marks 2,500 years since the Battle of Salamis. The victory of Athens opened the way to Classical Athens' golden century. Under the shadow of the Acropolis, let's promise that a monument that has survived for 25 centuries will continue to serve as a beacon of beauty and natural balance, appreciated by generations to come."