Cyprus celebrates Earth Hour, central event takes place at Presidential Palace

The central celebration to mark this year’s Earth Hour took place Saturday evening at the Presidential Palace where President Nicos Anastasiades announced the appointment of Professor Costas Papanikolas, President of the Cyprus Institute (CyI), as his special adviser for Climate Change. Celebrations took place in other cities as well.

Speaking at the event at the Presidential Palace, President Anastasiades said that Professor Papanikolas will work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment in order to coordinate the actions that need to take place for our country to become a research center. He added that the aim is to implement at national and regional level the findings of the Regional Action Plan that Cyprus proposed to the European Commission.

The President pointed out that the threats of climate change are there and they are visible and we should not underestimate them otherwise the impacts will be tragic for the ecosystem, the economy and our everyday lives.

He spoke of the disastrous impacts of global warming, of the prolonged periods of drought and heavy rainfall, water scarcity, heatwaves and the loss of biodiversity, pointing out that these adverse effects of climate change are more intense in almost all regions of the world.

President said that the situation is critical and it is imperative that we took effective measures and implement all the necessary policies to ensure the long-term sustainable development of our planet.

In his speech the President referred to the measures the EU is putting forward to tackle the situation and the objectives and commitments for 2030 Framework.

He added that in Cyprus we are already taking steps for clean and green energy with the use of renewable energy sources and with plans for energy saving.

The President said that studies show that the Mediterranean region is one of the regions worst affected by climate change and this is one of the main reasons Cyprus proposed to the EC the implementation of a regional action plan to address the visible environmental and other risks in the area. According to the President this is an initiative that will be supported by ongoing research and the set-up of a dialogue forum for discussion and exchange of views and suggestions.

In this framework, he noted, we are in contact with internationally renowned Professor Jeffrey Sacks, who is the Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Development Goals, and through bilateral and trilateral meetings we have been promoting our goals and ideas.

In her address the Commissioner for the Environment Ioanna Panayiotou pointed out that it is no exaggeration to say that climate change is the greatest environmental, economic and social crisis in the history of mankind.

She said that the climate change has become a key priority for the European Union and added that it is crucial to achieve the EUs 2020 and 2030 targets to turn economy into a highly energy-efficient and low-carbon one.

Panayiotou said that UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that if the temperature rises above 1.5 degrees Celsius, the loss of nature would be irreversible. She added that mitigation of the expected impacts on Cyprus is possible, provided that measures are taken on time.

The Commissioner added that development based on wrong and unsustainable models leads to climate change and this is the reason is crucial to take actions for sustainable development and circular economy.

Source: Cyprus News Agency