Speach at the Greek Parliament about the new  Climate Bil

Speach at the Greek Parliament about the new Climate Bil

Ladies and gentlemen,

The stakes arising from the impending climate crisis are great, concerning the health and survival of all living organisms on our planet. The objective of keeping the average global temperature from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 does not seem to be achieved by the climate action that has been taken so far. Alongside the climate crisis we are also facing a geopolitical crisis, an illegal invasion of sovereign state territory in which energy and its conditional supply is used as a practice and as a means of war diplomacy.

It is, therefore, a decision made by the Government of the New Democracy ( Nea Dimokratia) and the Prime Minister, Mr.Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as the Parliament to defend our country against these crises and to diversify our energy sources, to develop as much as possible the Renewable Energy Sources and to reduce the consumption of energy that we need in our economy. The energy autonomy and security of the European Union and of Greece is a primary concern of the new energy policy of the European Union, as shown by REPowerEU. In this international context, the text of the country's first climate law is a fact and an event of particular importance and symbolism. It comes to strengthen the pre-existing relevant legislative framework and accelerate Greece’s energy transition and climate action.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy presents a law that responds to modern needs, the imperatives of science and the international commitments of our country. The Greek climate law does not fall short in content. On the contrary, it refers to and covers the main points to which the climate laws in the majority of EU Member States refer:

* It underpins national and regional strategies for adaptation to climate change.
* It adopts sectoral carbon budgets as an innovative and indispensable tool for monitoring the progress of climate action of businesses and the Greek state, and as an indicator of eligibility for green financing.
* It supports the development of environmental and climate innovation including biomethane and green hydrogen.
* After 2030 it will allow the registration of zero emission vehicles only.
* It consolidates the Government's commitment to privatisation by 2028, with a review clause for faster decarbonisation by 2025.
* It promotes and resolves issues around electromobility in land transport and, together with the new legislative framework for  “smart cities” , places the functioning of urban areas on a new basis, which will contribute significantly to mitigating climate change and its  impacts and better protect health and improve the quality of life of residents.

The bill provides for regulations that will offer financial support to households and small and medium- sized businesses, such as, for example, the regulation of the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof and the replacement of household appliances. The strengthening of the climate change dimension in environmental permitting is also essential, as is the regulation of emission reductions from activities outside the European emissions trading scheme.

Furthermore, the strategic framework of the 'GR- eco Islands’ initiative is important for the environmental and climate action of our country and responds to the needs of insularity and the vulnerability of our islands ecosystems. The establishment of new institutions of climate governance, the National Observatory for Climate Change, the National Council for Adaptation to Climate Change, the Climate Dialogue website and the Scientific Committee on Climate Change are also significant. Special mention should be made of the ninth subparagraph of paragraph 1 of Article 10, as it brings into the public debate and includes the promotion of the circular carbon economy among the general measures of the country’s climate policy. It explicitly provides for the possibility of taking action aimed at increasing the absorption of greenhouse gases from natural ecosystems, such as our forests, or by storing them in geological formations or reusing them.

This paragraph is important because it refers directly to one of the most immediate solutions to the phenomenon of climate change, as it is now possible to gradually absorb the excess carbon dioxide that is either emitted from specific sources, such as transport and industry, or concentrated everywhere in the atmosphere. These technologies are now feasible, as we have said, and need further support for their widespread application. Scientists in Greece and abroad and Greek companies are already working on similar projects. Our country must work within the European Union and take the lead in reviewing and updating the relevant national, European and international legislative framework, and I also suggest the creation of a European centre for the circular carbon economy based in Greece.

This is a crucial decade for carbon capture, storage and reuse. If we have such immediate solutions to tackle the climate crisis, why do we not do it? If not now, then when? Climate law offers us the right opportunity to do so.

Thank you very much.

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