Environment Commissioner Antonia Theodosiou on Saturday called for “drastic lifestyle changes” to combat climate change.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), she said “not enough brave efforts are being made.”

She added, “the European Commission’s green transition and green deal programme is not just about planting trees but concerns our actions on a daily basis.

“Cyprus should not be at the point where it is today with a low participation in renewable energy sources, nor should it have such a high rate of pollution,” she said.

Speaking about her plans for her time in office, she said she hopes to “conduct information campaigns, raise awareness of issues, and submit opinions.

“The main area of my priority is the protection and management of Natura 2000 sites. Cyprus, as required, submitted areas which meet certain requirements of the European acquis and were included in the Natura 2000 network. Unfortunately, these areas have so far been poorly managed,” she said.

She added that she wishes to undertake a campaign against pollution.

We pay fines for pollutants and our [energy] production is mainly from fossil fuels. There needs to be a sharp increase in our energy mix and the introduction of renewable energy.

“Another way to balance these pollutants and pay fewer fines is to increase forest area and enhance biodiversity because these areas absorb and store carbon dioxide,” she said.

She went on to speak about waste, saying, “we are the ones producing waste, so we have to manage it.”

She also cut a pessimistic figure regarding hope for the future, saying “there is hope of containing global temperatures, but overturning the data is very difficult.”

“We must understand that we cannot yield results by making some small changes and having the same lifestyle. Drastic changes need to be made to what we are used to,” she said.

In addition, she briefly touched on the matter of construction work in Akamas, saying she is “examining how to improve the works.”

Last week, Agriculture Minister Maria Panayiotou said a report into the construction work is expected to be completed “within days”, and that it will be submitted to cabinet “by mid-March at the latest”.