Speech by the Minister of Agriculture for the public awareness event for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement

It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I welcome you on tonight’s celebration for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, which relates to the global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Paris Agreement is a historic milestone for strengthening collective action globally and accelerating the global transition to a low carbon society and resilience to climate change. The Paris Agreement supplements the Kyoto Protocol for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions with commitments by the end of 2020, as a very promising and ambitious Agreement which has been approved by 197 countries, a record in the UN history.

As of today, the Paris Agreement that was achieved in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, known as COP 21, enters into force. At least 55 countries representing at least 55% of total global emissions have ratified the Agreement. For this purpose, we symbolically illuminate the Famagusta Gate with green light, while on this occasion, 27 other monuments are being illuminated in capitals within the EU.

Dear guests,

It is now aknowledged by the entire international community that to mitigate the effects we are experiencing as a consequence of climate change and avoid the most unpleasant ones, the global increase of temperature should be limited and maintained at levels well below 2 Celsius compared to pre-industrial era. This objective can only be achieved if we can transit towards a low carbon economy in which greenhouse gas emissions will not exceed the absorption capacity of the sinks. I hope that by the end of the current year Cyprus will ratify the Agreement.

The strong international support for the Paris Agreement entering into force is an evidence of the urgent need for action and reflects the consensus of Governments for global cooperation, which is essential for tackling climate change. So far 97 of the 197 Parties of the Convention have ratified the Paris Agreement.

The Agreement defines a long-term objective of maintaining global warming at levels well below 2 Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 Celsius. Therefore, global emissions should peak in the near future and then decline rapidly in order to achieve a balance between emissions and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of the century, based on scientific data.

The Agreement also indicates the importance of adaptation actions by setting long-term objectives for adaptation in order to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability globally. The core of the Agreement consists of a legal binding provision that each Party must prepare, present and maintain the most ambitious emissions reductions possible, the so-called “nationally determined mitigation contributions” that will represent progression over time. Furthermore, in order to achieve the objectives of such national contributions, the Parties will implement domestic mitigation measures.

As regards climate change financing, the Agreement sets as targets to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable development. This will require a global shift in both private and public investment flows. It also reaffirms the leading role of developed countries in the provision of financial resources, yet encouraging other Parties to contribute as well. The decision sets the target for mobilisation of USD 100 billion a year by 2020 through 2025, with a new, higher goal to be set for the period after 2025.

The European Union and its member states have communicated with their nationally determined contributions their commitment to jointly achieve a binding target of reduction of domestic greenhouse gas emissions of 40% by 2030 for the overall economy compared to 1990, as defined in 2014 European Council Conclusions on the 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As regards Cyprus, based on the relevant allocation criteria, the national target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is expected to be around 24% from 2005 levels. It is estimated that in order to achieve this new goal, changes will be required mainly in the sector of energy with the penetration of cleaner fuels such as natural gas, the promotion of appropriate policies and measures to further save energy and the penetration of renewable energy sources.

Additionally, the reduction of emissions in the transport sector constitutes an important challenge. Currently, the sector accounts for about 25% of all CO2 emissions in Cyprus. At the same time the relevant policies and measures from other sectors, such as agriculture, industry, land use and forestry as well as waste management need to be reviewed.

Cyprus, despite the ambitious target to be undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is optimistic that by developing and implementing the appropriate policies and measures that have already decided, will achieve its goal. Simultaneously, Cyprus will eliminate the dependence on fossil fuels imports, will enhance its competitiveness, create new jobs and transit to a low carbon economy.

Alongside, through the new climate and energy framework of the European Union appropriate financial tools can be utilized, which will support the implementation of relevant policies and measures.

Specifically, horizontal policies have been developed and implemented that will affect all economic activities. Furthermore, coherent plans have been established and are applied regarding:

? greenhouse gas emission reduction and adaptation;

? enhancement of resource efficiency;

? transition towards green economy and

? integration of environmental dimension into developing activities.

Moreover, the path towards a road transport sector with low and zero emissions is being developed. Towards this effort, a wide range of environmentally friendly solutions is examined taking into account both technical potential and latest innovations.

Additionally, Cyprus has included in its energy balance the “clean and green energy”.”Green development” is promoted through appropriate schemes in order to encourage the use of renewable energy sources and energy savings.

The package of measures that we develop and implement proves that we direct all our policies towards a competitive, circular economy with low emissions of carbon dioxide that we owe to our country and future generations.

Dear friends,

Today we illuminate in Green Famagusta Gate, this historic monument and participate in this way to an international awareness campaign for the historic Agreement that enters into force today.

Hopefully, the 4th of November of 2016 will remain in history and will be remembered by the future generations as the day that changed the course of our planet.

Source: Press and Information Office.