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Cyprus has much to do post-climate deal, minister says

Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis (second right) with some farmers (File photo)

Cyprus has much work to do especially in the area of electricity production and renewable energy but also other issues in the wake of the Paris climate deal, Agriculture and Environment Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Sunday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Kouyialis said: “This agreement is just the beginning. From now on we must all work collectively and in a spirit of solidarity and transparency mainly because transparency was one of the issues that had been widely discussed in this global conference on the environment,” he said.

He said his ministry was working in partnership with the department of energy for the promotion of renewable energy sources, and mentioned two upcoming large projects in Cyprus, “two solar thermal parks to be built before 2020, which will assist us in further significant reductions in greenhouse gases,” he said.

Kouyialis said the two ministies would soon launch programmes aimed providing incentives to businesses and homes to invest renewable energy. “And we will launch measures to fund innovative technologies,” he added.

To cover the cost of the Paris agreement, Kouyialis said the EU collectively would pay a huge amount. “` We are all committed that from 2020 onwards 100 billion euros a year would be given by the EU and the developed countries, mainly the US,” he said. He added that Cyprus would contribute 350,000 euros. He called the agreement “historic” and the most important ever made in the sector of the environment.

“The EU will create more programmes for new energy technologies and I hope that we will be able to participate in these programmes,” said the minister.

The global climate summit in Paris forged a landmark agreement on Saturday, setting the course for a historic transformation of the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy within decades in a bid to arrest global warming.

Hailed as the first truly global climate deal, committing both rich and poor nations to reining in rising emissions blamed for warming the planet, it sets out a sweeping, long-term goal of eliminating net manmade greenhouse gas output this century.

It also creates a system to encourage nations to step up voluntary domestic efforts to curb emissions, and provides billions more dollars to help poor nations cope with the transition to a greener economy powered by renewable energy.

The final agreement was essentially unchanged from a draft unveiled earlier in the day, including a more ambitious objective of restraining the rise in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, a mark scientists fear could be a tipping point for the climate. Until now the line was drawn only at 2 degrees.

Some 187 nations have submitted detailed national plans for how they will contain the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, commitments that are the core of the Paris deal.

While leaving each country to pursue those measures on its own, the agreement finally sets a common vision and course of action after years of bickering over how to move forward.

Officials hope a unified stance will be a powerful symbol for world citizens and a potent signal to the executives and investors they are counting on to spend trillions of dollars to replace coal-fired power with solar panels and windmills.

Friends of the Earth in Cyprus issued a brief announcment on Sunday saying that once again world leaders had failed to respond to the urgent need to tackle climate change.

“The countries have agreed to limit the increase in global temperature to 2C, but the text mentions no measures and no obligation or commitment,” the statement said, adding that the agreement was decided by and for the rich countries of the world, and condemned millions of people in the global South to suffer the consequences.

“The agreement leaves many loopholes for countries to avoid taking substantial measures. The decision launching our addiction as a society from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is not the end of the history but merely a milestone in our path for a healthy planet and a secure future,” it added.

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