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With EU help we can both demand and achieve a whole and Green Cyprus

comment achilleas

By Achilleas Demetriades

Climate change is on our doorstep. There is an urgency to address this global concern and Cyprus cannot drag its feet on this any longer. No individual state can tackle climate challenges on its own. Our EU membership has already given us directions as to how we can act. Now we have to accelerate our pace in order to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal.

  • End our dependence on coal and become climate neutral by 2050
  • Reduce by 55 per cent greenhouse emissions by 2030, compared to 1990
  • Full energy potential in new buildings, limit energy loss in existing buildings

These can be achieved through the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the new EU Funding Programme 2021-2027. This time, we must apply these two development programmes in a different manner to the short-term policies of the past, which have not laid the foundations for the future.

In the past few years, Cyprus has not made any real progress towards any of the goals relating to viable growth, as these are set out by the EU. Strategies and plans of actions have been drafted by the Anastasiades government but have ended up in a drawer. Citizens have paid a heavy cost for delays and inaction by the government in adopting and implementing laws on managing pollutants and waste.

This government is wholly responsible for the absence of the appropriate infrastructure and incentives and unfortunately, even today, there is no coordination between the relevant services and the distribution of responsibilities.

Can we change this? My answer is a definite yes. Through a modern coordinated state which will serve the citizen we can work hard to achieve these goals, to bring Cyprus to the forefront of the effort to tackle climate change, instead of lagging behind.

  • A quick turn to Renewable Energy Sources (RES). Cyprus’ climate helps to fully exploit the production of solar energy. One may very well wonder how other countries, even in northern Europe with a lot less sunshine, have managed to turn so fast and so successfully to RES.
  • The state must take the lead. Public buildings, ministries, other government buildings and schools should bring into effect the EU directive on saving energy. No carbon dioxide pollutants; instead, photovoltaics and special insulation.
  • The Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), the island’s biggest electricity production plant, must determine irrevocably its strategy to stop using mazut and use a more friendly fuel to the benefit of the consumers and reducing the levy incurred by the state.
  • Develop a circular economy and biological agriculture.

The green movement concerns us all. We want to make a big investment in our island and our people, particularly in the new generation, using European know-how and available financial resources.

The protection of the environment is a new right! I advocate amendment of the constitution to ensure the respect for the environment as an individual right for the citizen. If individual parties or indeed the state violate legislation on the protection of the environment, they could be brought directly and effectively before the courts. Violation of the law should relate to all policies concerning the environment, including policies on areas designated as Natura 2000.

Our primary objective is “A whole and green Cyprus!”

One Cyprus, united, free of Turkish troops, should be in a position to develop its ecosystem as a single entity.

Our children will be able to work throughout our island.

The state will regain control of its natural and environmental wealth to the benefit of all its citizens. We will be in a position to address the big environmental challenges our country is facing, which do not stop at the ceasefire line, including the planning and managing for dangers arising from climate change such as fires, floods, drought, desertification and coastal erosion.

This is the whole green Cyprus, that we all deserve.

Achilleas Demetriades is a partner at the Lellos P Demetriades law office LLC  https://achilleas.eu

 

 

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