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The Athens Summit 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The two-day international Athens Summit 2009 conference on “The road to Copenhagen” opened yesterday with speakers focusing on managing the security of energy supply, providing energy security in Europe and beyond, and assessing the role of the countries of Southeastern Europe as a gateway to energy security and diversification.  Senior governmental officials, corporate leaders, financiers, and experts participate in the summit to discuss how the twin goals of energy security and managing climate change can be achieved to the benefit of all people. 

Papoulias’ Address

The inaugural speech was delivered by the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias. The President called for the collaboration of social forces beyond political parties for an economic and social vision to ensure viable development and protection of the environment, despite possible confrontation with vested interests. 

Papandreou’s Green Diplomacy

For his part, main opposition PASOK and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou stressed that Greece should take all necessary measures to increase “green” investments.  He called for a “turn toward quality products and the use of new technologies in all sectors (transport, health, tourism),” underlining the importance of investing in human resources through education.  He also noted that “Greece can play an important role as regards cooperation with the SE European countries and the Mediterranean region through ‘green’ diplomacy,” he stated.

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The Athens Climate Change Summit 2009

(GREEK NEWS AGENCY)   The two-day Athens Summit 2009 on “The Road to Copenhagen: Managing Climate Change and Energy Security in Southeast Europe and Beyond” – organised by the Institute for Climate and Energy Security in association with the Financial Times Global Events and C & C International Group of Companies – opens today.   The summit brings together Greek and foreign government officials, corporate leaders and as well as financiers and experts to debate and discuss how the twin goals of energy security and managing climate change can be achieved to the benefit of all.  It is part of a wider debate taking place worldwide, in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, in December, 2009. 

Greek PM Karamanlis in Sweden

karsou3(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)  Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis arrived in Stockholm on Monday for talks with his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt in light of the Sweden’s assumption of the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2009. Dealing with the ongoing international economic crisis, EU enlargement, combating climate change, and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty were the main subjects of discussion between the two leaders. Karamanlis briefed the Swedish side over Greece’s positions on Cyprus, Greece’s interest in Balkan development and the region’s Euro-Atlantic prospects. Regarding Turkey’s accession prospect, the premier reiterated that Athens supports it, as long as Turkey completely and effectively fulfils  the commitments it has undertaken vis-à-vis the EU. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bilateral Relations Greece-Sweden

Greek Initiatives on Climate Change

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     Participating in the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12), a meeting which brought together 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs, Greece took the opportunity to present its initiatives concerning the adaptation to climate change. First and foremost, Greece has incorporated the dimension of climate change into every bilateral programme and development cooperation project. In addition, acknowledging the gap reported between the developed world and developing countries in terms of adaptation to climate change, Greece is offering funding for less developed countries through agreements signed recently with the African Union and the Caribbean Community CARICOM. Similarly, support will be offered to the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and it is for this reason that another €20 million have been earmarked for the next four years. Last but not least, the Greek Chairmanship of the Human Security Network (May 2007- 2008) emphasised climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable social groups. The Greek chair hosted a number of international events on this issue in 2008, and funded a relevant research programme carried out mainly by UN agencies, including UNICEF and UN University. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek Chairmanship of the Human Security Network- Policy Paper on Climate Change; Greek News Agenda: UN Climate Change Conference 

Greece at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Today the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Poznań, (December 1-12) concludes with the participation of 192 United Nations member states and representatives from international organisations and NGOs. The purpose of the conference is to lay the foundations for the conclusion of a global climate treaty which will succeed the Kyoto protocol. The final agreement is expected to be signed in Copenhagen in 2009. Member states are called to agree upon specific targets and deadlines to curtail carbon emissions, a matter which is directly linked to the course of their economic activity. The conference has set out the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60-80% by the year 2050. Addressing the conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for global solidarity on climate change and talked about a new “Green Deal,” while the European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas stressed that the European Commission aims at shifting the gear towards concrete negotiations and reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2020. In regard to Greece, the Commissioner noted that Greece’s economy will benefit immensely should the country choose to comply fully with the European aspirations. European Commission: Commissioner’s speech in Poznan & UN Climate Change Conference 2008; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greek chair @ Human Security Network- Policy Papers on Climate Change; Secretariat General for Information: About Greece-Environmental Protection & About Brand Greece-Environmental Strategic Policies

Southeastern Europe Faces a Real Danger of Desertification

(REEK NEWS AGENDA)   Southeastern Europe faces a real danger of desertification and becoming another Sahara Desert in 100-150 years, underlined Sir Nicholas Stern – the United Kingdom’s Head of the Government Economic Service and Adviser to the Government on the economics of climate change and development, during the presentation of the Greek-language Executive Summary of his Report at the foreign ministry on Thursday27 November 2008. The Stern Review is one of the most important documents to have been published in recent years on how to confront the greenhouse effect.  The review’s basic conclusion is that immediate action, on a global level, to deal with climate change is not only an environmental and social imperative, but is also dictated by economics. Sir Nicholas underlined that to deal with the desertification risk SE Europe can seek to become energy producer for the entire Europe by using solar and wind power. Addressing the event, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis praised the contribution of the British government in the study of the economic dimension of the greenhouse effect and maintained that there is immediate need for an agreement to deal with climate change.  Stern Review: Final Report; Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Human Security Network Conference on Climate Change  

Environment Matters in Greece: First Hydroelectric Power Grid

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)          The island of Ikaria will soon be opting out of the national power grid, as it will become autonomous in terms of energy consumption. The foundation of the first hybrid system in Greece, which will combine hydroelectric and aeolian (wind) modes of energy production, is being laid on October 25. A hydroelectric station will be built that will utilise waterfall from three different levels. The water will begin from an existing dam in the area of Pezi on the island, located at a height of 700 metres. In Pezi, there is a natural plateau. A rain storm is enough to fill up the natural reservoir in the plateau. The water will then be collected in three separate cisterns that will be built, at different levels, thus creating artificial cataracts. These cataracts will produce electric energy, capable of covering 85-90% of the islands requirements. The barrages will each have a capacity of 80,000 cubic metres of water. Deputy Minister of Merchant Marine Panayiotis Kammenos will inaugurate the energy plant tomorrow.  Centre for Renewable Energy Resources: Hydroelectric Energy; Secretariat General of Information: About Brand Greece – Environmental Strategic Policies  & Energy Policy; Public Power Corporation: www.dei.gr; Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works: Climate Change; Greek Association of RES (Renewable Energy Sources) Electricity Producers: www.hellas.gr