Already with its own plans for a greener economic future, Cyprus has high hopes for an ambitious, binding agreement at COP21 that will force all countries to change to a greener path.
It’s been a tough 2015 for climate change naysayers trying to cast doubt on the causes and implications of rising global temperatures. Numerous studies have dispelled some of their favorite myths, including the widely touted “iatus” in global warming idea being quashed by at least six individual studies. Plus, on November 25, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced this year is set to be the warmest on record, with 2016 even hotter, and warned that a lack of international action now could see temperatures increase by a catastrophic 6ºC or more.
Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the WMO, said: "2015 will make history for a number of reasons. One of them, I'm repeating what we said just a few weeks ago, is that we have broken new records for the concentration of greenhouse gases as you know. CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and a few others, we have broken, once again, absolute records of that. The other reason is that 2015 will be the warmest year on record."
When the results come out in January, they are expected to confirm that global average surface temperatures in 2015 are likely to have crossed what the UN’s weather agency calls the symbolic and significant milestone of 1ºC above the pre-industrial 1880-1899 period, and around 0.73ºC above the 1961-1990 average of 14ºC.
“Greenhouse gas emissions which are causing climate change can be controlled. We have the knowledge and the tools to act. We have a choice. Future generations will not,” Mr Jarraud said.
The timely news comes just days ahead of what is anticipated to be the largest international conference so far in the fight to tackle climate change. The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), and one of its key aims is to decide how to limit global temperatures rises to a maximum of 2ºC over pre-industrial times.
Held in Paris from November 30 until December 11, COP21 brings together government and industry leaders from around the world, as well as environmental associations, senior executives, financiers and investors. Some 50,000 participants are expected at the various events over the 12-day period. The largest business-focused event will be the Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF15) on December 7-8, which organizers say will “convene cross-sector participants from business, government, finance, UN, NGO and civil society to create an unparalleled opportunity to bolster business innovation and bring scale to the emerging green economy.”
Speaking at an informal press briefing ahead of the opening of COP21, Cyprus’ Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Nicos Kouyialis announced the island’s readiness to contribute €350,000 to the Green Climate Fund. Despite its size and challenging financial situation, Cyprus has assumed its global responsibility with this contribution and is also integrating environmental elements into its ongoing economic recovery. From its mining technology to eco-tourism plans and renewable power potential, Cypriot public and private sectors alike have wholeheartedly backed the drive for a prosperous, greener future.
The sustainable management of Cyprus’ natural resources is vital for its economic diversification and sustainable economic growth. It is committed to protecting its forests, its maritime and terrestrial ecosystems, and developing its agricultural sector within the framework of the EU and the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
Nicos Kouyialis, Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, says, “Our key objective today is to restructure our development paths towards a more competitive, resource-efficient, low-carbon, green economy that will sustain growth, create new financial opportunities, improve productivity, boost competitiveness, and create new green jobs as an answer to the rising unemployment patterns.”