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Greenpeace Greece: Greece must decrease harmful emissions in the atmosphere with 30% by 2020

19 February 2010 / 20:02:06  GRReporter
2006 reads

Victoria Mindova

Greece should lift up the bar and reach 30 percent decrease in harmful emissions by 2020. This is the opinion of the representative of the Greek branch of Greenpeace. At a meeting with journalists, representatives of various public organizations and parties discussed the possibilities for Greece to improve the quality of life through implementing various useful practices for the environment. Renovation and development of railway infrastructure and landscaping of urban areas and are only part of the measures, which the central government and local authorities can implement to develop “green policies” and quality of life. All participants in the forum agreed that Greece should hold a more bold and effective policy on the environment protection. Concrete answer to the question "What is the real green policy that should be applied in Greece today, despite the lack of international political-binding agreement for protecting the environment" gives exclusively for GRReporter Dimitris Ibraim - responsible for energy issues in the Greek office of Greenpeace. 

What specific changes and policies should be implemented by Greece at local level after the collapse of the World Summit in Copenhagen? 

Greece must act in two main ways in order to conduct effective green policies. Given that currently there are very few truly progressive governments in Europe, Greece should support the most advanced ideas in the European Union. The first step is to engage on international level with the proposal for the upcoming ten years - Europe will reduce the release of harmful gases in the atmosphere with a minimum of 30% compared with current levels. We need a more modern Europe that will pressure and initiate a bold and effective negotiation meeting in December in Mexico. Secondly, we must act locally - we can reduce the release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and thus help to improve the quality of life of the ordinary citizen. This first step is to modify the methods of producing electricity which currently uses about 60 percent lignite. It is vital to have effective legal framework and political will to implement effective environmental practices. In this connection, I can say that we appreciate as a positive step the voting of the exploitation of renewable energy sources bill by the new government. 

Do you think the new government of PASOK is ready to implement green policies, which it announced in its election platform? 

For now the government and in particular the ministry of ecology, evolution and climate change and the responsible Minister Tina Birbili, are moving in that direction. The future will show how far they are willing to go with the introduction and implementation of modern policies for environmental protection. 

According to you, which are the main sectors of the economy, that affect climate change and what needs to change? 

Like I said, electricity is a major sector in which Greece has to change its production methods. There is considerable scope for substitution with alternative energy sources - solar, wind, natural gas and others. Improving road infrastructure will result in greater reduction in the production of harmful gases into the atmosphere by transport in the country. In this sense, the improvement of railway lines (long-distance transport) and the construction of subway networks (in urban transport) are of utmost importance. Revival of agriculture in the country will also contribute to improving the quality of life. 

What actions and campaigns are you planning to do this year in order to attract public attention to environmental issues and to increase public accountability? 

We have planned a series of public events, which will begin several months before the international meeting in Mexico. Their purpose is to inform the public about the importance of this meeting. Also in this way we want to give hope to the ones frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the meeting in Copenhagen and by the lack a politically binding agreement for the global reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As an organization Greenpeace aims to monitor and correct any action or additional measures in the public and private sphere, which in one way or another, threaten the environment, including increased production of harmful gases.

Tags: Greenpeace Greece environment protection emissions carbon dioxide
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