The seminar organized by us, in collaboration with the Environment Department on Tuesday the 5th of April at the University of Cyprus was a success!
The aim of the seminar was to inform the public about the current and future climate actions of Cyprus as well as to give room for stakeholders to exchange ideas on how Cyprus could best reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The event was greeted by Dr. Costas Kadis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, who mentioned some of the climate actions the government is implementing within the EU Green Deal framework. He also mentioned the need for revising the national climate targets as a reaction to the new “Fit for 55” package.
Ms. Klelia Vasileiou, Environment Commissioner also attended the event and stressed the need to act on all sectors of the economy to reach our climate targets and preserve the integrity of our environment.
Dr. Marina Neofytou, Professor and President of the Civil Engineer Department of the University of Cyprus, who was representing the University’s Dean, mentioned the importance and responsibility of the state in implementing actions, especially in the transport sector. She added that if we want to achieve our goals, we will have to make leaps in our strategy and become clearer in technical matters, such as the issue whether electrified transport will be powered from our homes or a more centralized grid.
Dr. Theodoulos Mesimeris, Head Policy officer at the Climate Action Department of the Environment Department, presented the government’s climate targets and stressed that the updated National Energy and Climate Plan, which will be ready in 2023-2024, will bring with it more ambitious targets, which will be harder to achieve if we continue with the same rhythm and mentality.
During the seminar, attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Ms. Georgia Christofidou, Director of the Sustainable Development Department at the Ministry of Finance. She analysed the available EU funding tools and how each tool contributes to reaching our national targets. More specifically, she mentioned that Cyprus will need 2.3 billion euros public funding between the period of 2020-2030 to implement the National Energy and Climate Plan.
Regarding the important subject of “Do No Significant Harm”, Ms. Eirini Constantinou, Head Policy officer at the Environmental Impact Department of the Environment Department, stressed the need to assess all measures promoted by the government whether they could pose a threat to other environmental objectives. During the process of approving measures for the Recovery and Resilience Plan, she mentioned, a rigorous assessment was conducted, and certain requirements and conditions were laid out that needed to be respected. In this way, biodiversity objectives could not be affected by projects promoted by the Plan.
During the discussion, many important subjects were raised as was the need of utilizing the potential of forests to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. In addition, it was mentioned that agricultural practices that enhance absorptions will be able to be certified in the future for their contributions. Concerning fossil gas, stakeholders mentioned that its extraction and consumption should not be funded. Alternatively, more funds should be directed towards the use and installation of Renewables.
Finally, the need to promote synergies between stakeholders to speed up the green transition was stressed, as was the need of finding effective solutions for the transport sector which the most polluting one in Cyprus.