There is still a way out of the climate crisis – POLITICO


Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the Greek Prime Minister.

Time is running out for all of us. The Greeks witness this firsthand.

This summer our country simply burned down. Together we have seen the dramatic and devastating effects of global warming, with record and sustained temperatures above 40 degrees, day in and day out. An unprecedented environmental disaster followed, with forest fires sweeping through precious ecosystems in just a few days.

It’s not climate change in action, it’s a climate crisis in action – a never-before-seen threat to our way of life and our children’s future. And to fight it, we need to think big, act fast and lead by example. Because if we have the courage to collaborate – at the pace, at scale, and now – overcoming financial hurdles, we can save opportunities from this crisis.

Greece is a medium-sized European country, a maritime power with 20% of the world’s maritime fleet and a hotspot for tourism. We could, of course, just sit back and wait for the big polluters to act – after all, our carbon emissions are relatively low. But we won’t. Even smaller countries like Greece can have a big impact on the global green transition.

Along with eight other EU member countries – Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta and Slovenia – Greece recently adopted the Athens declaration, focused on climate change mitigation in the Mediterranean. We have also created a ministry responsible for the climate crisis and are implementing a 6 + 1 climate program across Greece: six initiatives – on maritime transport, tourism, renewable energies, decarbonization, green energy interconnection and ecosystems – underpinned by a comprehensive climate law that will be ratified later this week.

The green transition is, however, a capital intensive transformation. Greece has so far succeeded in mobilizing considerable EU funds for climate change mitigation. But it’s not enough.

Europe needs more innovative approaches to financing and fundraising on a scale that matches our collective efforts. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that when the need is acute, we can fund research and innovation on a large scale and with incredible results.

Therefore, we must work to support a smart infrastructure that is interoperable across borders and that is transparent, accessible and consistent with a level playing field in terms of competition.

Bringing ideas and experiences to life only works when the private sector, governments and investors work together. We must therefore remove the barriers to deploy capital internationally, anticipating and positively supporting future markets and the ideas behind green technologies and alternative fuels.

This means investing in renewable energies like offshore wind and R&D projects like the new EU research institute for sustainable maritime transport – where we support the incubation of green technology ideas to reduce the footprint. future carbon of maritime transport – and those on the islands of Astypalaia and Halki, where we are building 100% green and energy self-sufficient sustainable tourist destinations with the help of Volkswagen and Citroën.

If we can work together, we can build the green industrial revolution of tomorrow. We can involve our citizens and our businesses in the benefits of the green transition.

It is time for us to understand that stopping this crisis is not a burden that increases costs and undermines economic growth. It is the opposite: a green technological revolution with enormous power to create wealth and the potential for redistribution.

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