Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is scheduled to have fifteen minutes of speaking time to project his views at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, to be held November 30 to December 11, faces the choice of either generalizing his way through his speech and adopting wider European positions or rising to the occasion and announcing a truly ambitious Greek program.
Should Tsipras opt to present groundbreaking policies “this ought to be not because the US president and leaders of other major economies are doing so, but because Greek society truly requires such an approach for its future generations,” noted Takis Grigoriou, environmental change head official at the local Greenpeace branch.
The Paris conference, being widely described as humanity’s last chance to restrict any additional global warming to less than two degrees celcius, comes following a series of initiatives taken by leaders of major economies, who appear to be announcing policies intended to reduce fossil fuel dependence. Examples include the US, China, India, as well as certain European countries, such as Sweden and Denmark. Just days ago, the US President Barack Obama cancelled plans for the Keystone oil pipeline, despite strong opposition from the oil industry. The project, which had been planned to run from Canada through the US, faced heavy criticism from environmentalists.
Tsipras will travel to Paris as the leader of a nation that has little to show in renewable energy source (RES) progress over the past few years, except for recent legislation encouraging photovoltaic self-production. On the contrary, the only investments being pushed in Greece at this stage concern further fossil fuel development.
Although the Greek economy is small and any initiatives taken by the country can only have minimal impact on global developments, a prudent local energy policy could reinforce the national economy and, by extension, society. Global climate change authorities contend that even smaller countries have the opportunity to play key roles at international conferences such as the imminent Paris event, if they choose to present groundbreaking ideas or policies.