President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said at the COP26 that his government earmarked more than EUR 500 million for measures to introduce cleaner fuels and in the greening of its economy.
The governments of countries across the world have to be honest so as to strengthen their efforts in fulfilling promises to cut greenhouse emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said in a speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26.
“There is no sign that we are growing back greener, since not only planetary warming is accelerating, but we are witnessing, around the globe, protracted heat waves, devastating fires and deforestation, increased water scarcity, droughts, floods and extreme weather patterns,” he warned and called for joint action to accelerate the global transformation to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society.
Funds from resilience plan are only first step
Anastasiades pointed out that his government earmarked more than EUR 500 million “as a first step in accomplishing these ambitious but highly-needed goals.” The funds will be invested by 2026 in promoting “cleaner fuels, such as natural gas and renewable energy,” and measures in transportation, agriculture, industry, land use and forestry and waste management, he said.
The president referred to the island country’s National Resilience and Recovery Plan. The said sum is intended for investments and reforms that contribute to climate neutrality and towards green transition and it makes up 41% of the approved funds, compared to a required 39% for climate action.
The European Union approved EUR 1.2 billion for the National Resilience and Recovery Plan of Cyprus
The European Commission already disbursed EUR 157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus. The country is set to receive EUR 1.2 billion in total through 2026, of which EUR 1 billion in grants and EUR 200 million in loans.
The second-biggest item is the EUR 100 million for the EuroAsia Interconnector. There is EUR 89 million in the plan for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, and another EUR 87 million for sustainable and green mobility. Among other measures, Cyprus said it would introduce a carbon tax for fuels, a levy on water and a charge on landfill waste.
Mediterranean, Middle East are climate change hotspot
The government “remains fully committed” to the European Union’s targets and goals from the Paris Agreement, aimed at achieving a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, Anastasiades stressed. He urged the countries of the Mediterranean and Middle East and international organizations to cooperate, noting that the region is classified as a climate change hotspot, with extreme risks from global warming.
COP26 should result in the highest possible commitment from all participating countries, in a way that is fair, efficient and transparent, whilst maintaining solidarity with vulnerable countries, according to Anastasiades. “Our vision should be none other than to look to the future with optimism and to use the climate challenge as an opportunity to proudly demonstrate what all countries, what humanity can achieve when we join forces,” he stated.