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Greece can make significant contribution to green transition, Mitsotakis tells COP26

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The world “is running out of time and we need to act now,” Prime Minster Kyriakos Mitsotakis told COP26 summit in Glasgow on Monday, pointing out that Greece can make a significant contribution to the green transition.

“In Greece, as in many other countries, we are already getting a glimpse of the dramatic effects of global warming. This summer, having experienced a record-breaking streak of days with temperatures above 40 degrees, we had to deal with forest fires of unprecedented intensity,” he continued, saying this prompted his government to establish the Climate Crisis Ministry.

Greece, despite its small carbon footprint, can make a significant contribution to the green transition, that goes beyond the EU targets of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030, he said, highlighting six key areas where this could be done.

Firstly, Greece was taking the lead in proposing solutions to decarbonize maritime transport, especially as a fifth of the global merchant fleet was Greek.

In tourism, Greece’s GR-eco strategy would eliminate more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 by gradually turning popular islands into 100% green and sustainable, autonomous destinations.

Mitsotakis also said that Greece aspires to becoming “pioneers in offshore wind energy” and to have 2 gegawatts installed by 2030. “We also want to be innovators in pump storage electricity, taking advantage of the country unique geomorphology,” he added.

Greece was transitioning to low-carbon electrification at a faster rate than in many European countries, he continued. Greece would be lignite-free by 2028 at the latest, while all old lignite units would be phased out by 2023.

By 2030, Greece hopes to declare 10% of its seas as no catch zones, he said.

Mitsotakis also highlighted Greece’s transformation “into a regional hub for green energy. Our recent agreement with Egypt for  a new electricity interconnection is a case in point. Greece is also the logical entry point for green hydrogen produced in the Middle East and North Africa into the European market.”

Concluding, Mitsotakis told the UN climate conference: “We have reached a stage where there is no more room for petty politics. Our children and the generations to come will not forgive us if we fail to coordinate and address this existential thread for humanity. Starting today, I firmly believe that we can live up to this challenge.”