Embracing climate change ideas for sustainable future economy
E DII TO RII A L
As an island, Cyprus has no choice but to adopt, perhaps even lead the way, in climate change proposals agreed at the Paris summit, which some critics said fell short of drastic measures to counter the global environmental problems.
Our economy relies heavily on services, agriculture, tourism and shipping, with three out of these four directly affected by climate change. This is why this government, having proven very slow to implement reforms in the past three years, should at least embrace the proposals for an environmentally sustainable economy. Where the island has no major smoke-spewing industries, polluting the air, it can do more and smarter things because of its small scale.
Already, researchers at the Cyprus Institute have not only suggested, but proven that a 1-2C rise in temperature will have a serious i mpact on the tourism industry and all related services. By simply saying that we will extend the summer season is complacent, let alone naïve. If worldwide emissions force the weather to become warmer, then from midJuly to the end of August ( by far, the best period in tourist arrivals) will soon become unbearable, hence no tourists and no revenue.
The situation seems better in the maritime sector, where Cyprus-based shipowners and ship-managers have a better grasp of global climatic fluctuations, and have voluntarily adopted or are investing in ecofriendly measures and technology. This must be kept up to promote the Cyprus flag as the greenest of all.
Unfortunately, as regards farming and agriculture, past administrations have ignored this sector, simply because of the small contribution to the national output (less than 3.5% of GDP) and the few votes that matter during elections. The stupid decision to shut down the Forestry College, at a time when Cyprus has no state educational programme for a sustainable rural economy, goes to show how little this government cares about keeping the island green and encouraging research in the countryside, where other countries spend millions to boost this area. Finally, as the Green party has gradually become a grey one, focusing more on political issues, rather than the environment and the economy, there is no single voice or platform left to collect all the thinkers and contribute to a better, cleaner and greener future.
These problems are now on almost everyone’s minds, especially as ordinary folk, even taxi and truck drivers, have witnessed first-hand the wrath of the recent freak storms and unexpected cold front, causing havoc to farmers’ crops, which in turn impacts retailers and consumers alike. These are everyday concerns that our elected officials have remained out of touch with, as they suffer from the NIMBY syndrome (not in my back yard) and are only ‘serious’ when it comes to issues like catching or eating ambelopoulia, or smoking in the corridors of parliament.