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Greece Joins COP26 Leaders Outlining Plan to Tackle Climate Crisis

Climate crisis COP26
Greek PM Mitsotakis chats with UK’s Boris Johnson and UN Secretary General António Guterres in Glasgow on Monday. Credit: Cop26

Greece, despite its small carbon footprint, can make a significant contribution in tackling the climate crisis and help in the green transition, PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday during his address to the delegates of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place in Glasgow.

The Greek Premier warned delegates that “we are running out of time and we need to act now” to stem the climate crisis.

He said that Greece will go beyond the ambitious plan of the EU to reduce emissions by 55 percent by 2030.

Mitsotakis outlined the Greek government’s green transition program and the actions being planned, such as phasing out coal and increasing the share of renewable energy sources through new ambitious initiatives like offshore wind parks and measures for “green” shipping and to protect ecosystems.

He also emphasized plans to convert Greece into a green energy hub for Europe based on the recent agreement with Egypt and talks that are underway with Saudi Arabia.

More than 120 leaders try to tackle climate crisis

More than 120 leaders are now in Glasgow for COP26. They hope to strike a deal to put the world back on track to meet the goals set in Paris, including reducing global carbon emissions to zero by 2050, and limiting the planet’s overall warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists calculate that to do that, planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions need to be halved by the end of this decade. As it stands now, they’ll continue to rise. Experts warn that time left to take action to achieve the Paris goals is quickly slipping away, and the consequences of failure would be catastrophic for humanity.

Under present targets we are on track for warming of 2.7C by the year 2100 – which the UN says would result in a “climate catastrophe.”

Biden: “Worse is yet to come if we fail to seize this moment”

US President Joe Biden said human-caused damage to the climate was already taking a devastating toll on people through natural disasters, and he said it could only be addressed by nations coming together.

“Worse is yet to come if we fail to seize this moment,” the President said of the climate crisis, promising that the U.S. would lead by example, not words.

Before his arrival, Biden said the focus should be on what countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are not doing to address the climate crisis, and he called it “disappointing” that those nations “basically didn’t show up, in terms of any commitments to deal with climate change.”

World-renowned naturalist David Attenborough called on leaders to be “motivated by hope rather than fear” to avoid climate catastrophe.

He also appealed to the political leaders and heads of state gathered for the two-week summit to commit to holding global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the lower of two limits set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Attenborough said: “Everything we have achieved in the last 10,000 years has been enabled because of the (climate) stability during this time.

“The global temperature has not wavered over this period by more than either plus or minus one degree celsius – until now.”

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