Greece’s new climate targets will demand changes in agriculture and livestock farming

On November 9, 2021, Nikos Mantzaris participated in the International Conference “Climate Change: The Future of the Agri-Food Sector” organized by the non-profit organization “Nea Georgia Nea Genia”.

The specific panel of the first day of the conference, which was coordinated by the journalist George Makris, was titled “We ighlight the agenda of climate change at national, European and global level”.

 Prodromos Zanis, Professor at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Lead Author, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Konstantinos Aravosis, Secretary General of Natural Environment and Water at the Ministry of Environment and Energy, and Professor at the National Technical University of Athens, Konstantinos Baginetas, Secretary General of Agricultural Policy and International Relations at the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, Tassos Haniotis, Director of the Directorate-General for Agriculture & Development at the European Commission, and Phoebe Kountouris, Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business and President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

Nikos Mantzaris referred to the developments in the international climate policy, as well as the commitments undertaken by the states on the occasion of the ongoing global climate conference COP26. Αmong those that will particularly affect the agricultural and livestock sectors, as well as fossil fuels in the energy sector, is the agreement to reduce methane emissions, of the second greenhouse gas in concentration.

Also, referring to the climate performance of Greece, he commented that while the country showed climate indifference, increasing the net emissions of all its greenhouse gases until 2007, in recent years it has behaved more climate-responsibly, achieving in 2019 a reduction by almost 19%, compared to 1990 levels, still lagging far behind the European Union average. Greece’s climate performance is largely due to the reduction of lignite production, which was responsible for about 1/3 of the Greek emissions.

Despite this improvement, however, Greece still has a long way to go to meet the commitments laid out in the national climate law which is under development, the main one being the reduction of the country’s net emissions in 2030 by 55% compared to 1990. Coal sectoral budgets, which are also foreseen in the Greek climate law and will concern the agricultural sector, are expected to contribute towards this direction. However, emission mitigation measures alone will not be sufficient to achieve the targets. Cross-sectoral and cross-party cooperation, adequate and stable funding, as well as the active participation of society are essential. The latter can, for example, be ensured through the further development of the institution of energy communities, with citizens producing the electricity they consume in a clean way, thus increasing energy democracy and safeguarding them from market instabilities and price increases, such as those of the current period.

You can watch the speech of Nikos Mantzaris (in Greek) here:

And the whole first day of the Conference here.