Scientists advise on greener future

Scientists advise on greener future

As global leaders ponder climate change at the annual United Nations meeting, held this year at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh, a committee of Greek scientists has unveiled a set of reform proposals designed to help Greece become carbon-neutral.

Globally, the debate on how to mitigate by climate change is loaded with the objections of developing countries accusing the advanced industrial ones of having polluted the planet to achieve growth and now seeking to stunt the developing world’s growth through emission cut demands.

Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, a professor of chemical engineering and one of the committee of experts convened by the Bodossaki Foundation, says that Greece, with its higher margin of growth compared to the advanced industrial nations among which it is usually placed, is in good position to demonstrate to developing countries that the growth gap can close with the use of environmentally friendly means.

The action plan prepared by the committee deals with seven issues: stabilizing the climate, maintaining biodiversity, cleaning up the air, healthy soils and clean water, a circular economy of material repair and recycling, human health and an active civil society. Sarigiannis says climate stabilization, biodiversity and human health are the most important ones.

Sarigiannis also touches upon the government’s decision to promote wind energy over local objections. It would be wrong, he says, to impose a single renewable energy source without taking a look at local conditions. And, as importantly, locals and local authorities must be allowed to make their input instead of having a solution imposed on them from above.

In Thessaly, for example, with its open plains and large farms, there should be infrastructure for creating fuel from biomass. And in the Greek islands, buffeted by high winds for most of the year, wind energy is the obvious choice.

The committee also makes specific recommendations, such as allowing only the least polluting vehicles into city centers and going door to door to collect recyclables.

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