Greece intends to convene a high-level conference in Athens next year to adopt a resolution on the protection of cultural and natural heritage from climate change, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in New York, addressing the UN Climate Summit 2019.
Mitsotakis said that the repercussions of climate change were already visible, and underlined that by the end of 2019 the Greek government will adopt a new national policy for energy and the climate that will include a ban on single-use plastic starting in 2021, the shutdown of lignite-run power production units by 2028 and the increase in the share of renewable resources to 35 pct by 2030.
Referring to the devastating fire in Mati last year that cost the lives of 102 people, the Greek premier said that "everything happened in less than four hours and the destruction at Mati shook the Greek public deeply." Speaking of the unique extreme conditions of the fire linked to climate phenomena, Mitsotakis warned that climate change is not an issue we can postpone (dealing with) for a few decades - it must be dealt with immediately, as its repercussions affect the lives of people who up to now showed no interest in the issue.
The Greek government has 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 level 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 organized 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's 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."