Cyprus must fully embrace the ‘Fit for 55’ package, a set of proposals aimed at revising and updating laws within EU member states to bring policies in line with a of climate goals that will have-fear reaching impacts on society, House President Annita Demtriou said on Friday.
The package impacts transport, road and aviation, buildings and includes a ban on sales of new internal-combustion engine cars after 2035. In aviation, airlines will need to use less polluting but more expensive fuels, resulting in higher fares.
The package also calls for mandatory changes to buildings to make them more energy efficient, which will include old as well as new buildings. At the same time, the share of renewables must be increased and more green taxes will be imposed.
Speaking at a parliamentary session alongside Green Party leader Charalambos Theopemptou, Demetriou said that “Cyprus has the legal obligation to fully adopt and implement the package”, whose target is reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030.
“The concept of the green transition is not only about legislation, timetables, goals and numbers, but also about establishing a new culture within our society,” she said.
“As legislators we have a crucial role to play in establishing the necessary legal and regulatory framework for the successful implementation of the ‘Fit for 55 measures’ in Cyprus.”
Demetriou also mentioned to the crucial role of parliament in the matter, stressing that it must be properly prepared for the changes ahead and duly inform the people about them.
She also said that consensus and cooperation among all the political parties is of the utmost importance.
Speaking after Demetriou’s address, Theopemptou said that Cyprus was one of the EU countries where climate change is most evident.
“Snow has disappeared from the Troodos mountains, summers have grown longer, the rainfall season has changed, our seas now have more invasive species, fewer birds are in our sky, and we often have dust arriving from neighbouring countries.
“Things will continue to deteriorate, so, if we really love our country and care about our children’s future, we must take steps to reduce emissions and plan ahead in order to meet EU obligations.”
Theopemptou said that changes set by the ‘Fit for 55’ package include, among others, energy upgrades of buildings, an overhaul of the electricity market, the introduction of carbon taxes, and the construction of charging stations around the island linked to the promotion of electric vehicles.
After the opening remarks made by Demetriou and Theopemptou, environmental department officer Theodoulos Mesimeris said that, despite the progress made in recent years, Cyprus still has a long road ahead.
“For Cyprus, the EU goal of reducing emissions to is difficult to reach with today’s practices and measures and we should consider redesigning our policies entirely”, he said.
Senior air transport officer at the civil aviation department Yiannis Yiannakis also intervened during the roundtable, adding that aviation fuel suppliers must ensure that the fuel available to the operators of aircrafts operating at EU airports contain a minimum share of synthetic aviation fuels.
“For the aviation sector, one of the measures in the new targets is the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF),” he said.
Moreover, Yiorgos Partasides of the energy ministry said that, according to package, the EU target for renewable energy sources (RES) will likely be 31-34 per cent in gross final consumption and that a cooperation framework is established for joint RES projects.
He explained that member states are obliged by the end of 2030 to make an effort to develop at least two joint RES projects with one or more member states and that the indicative target for RES in buildings is at least 49 per cent by 2030.