“Citizens are the greatest allies in the green transition” – Ioli Christopoulou at the presentation of the book “The world is burning – Change the system, not the climate”

The resilience of the European Green Deal, the challenges it faces and the need for citizens to participate in the green and just transition came into focus during Ioli Christopoulou’s speech at the presentation of the book “The world is burning – Change the system, not the climate” by Petros Kokkalis and Xenophon Kontiadis.

Green Tank’s policy director talked first about the European Green Deal, which is the focus of the book. She commented that the Green Deal remains strong after a series of challenges following its announcement in December 2019.

As an example, Greece has managed to greatly reduce its dependence on lignite and fossil gas, even in the midst of the energy crisis, due to the development of renewable energy sources. Despite this significant progress, however, the country is planning new fossil gas infrastructure and hydrocarbon extraction – ‘as if there is a Planet B after all’, as mentioned.

Challenges continue at European level, such as the recent reactions against the new Nature Restoration Law or, more broadly, the constant questioning of the Green Deal. On this point, it was underlined that Europe must not be misled by populist approaches that serve particular interests that resist change.

According to Ioli Christopoulou, the answer to populism is a green and just transition, which is also the great challenge of the next period.

Greece was mentioned again here. The concept of a Just Transition is particularly expressed in the lignite regions, which are called upon to design their post-lignite economic model in a sustainable way and with the help of everyone. Greece is one of the countries that has foreseen that the lignite regions will not be left behind. It was noted, however, that the planning for the transition in these areas is not so participatory nor have the resources yet reached the local communities.

In general, partnerships, together with the strengthening of democratic institutions (such as public consultations), are important elements in promoting the green model.

More importantly, citizen participation is crucial to all this. “Because citizens are the greatest allies in achieving the green and just transition needed to change the system in a world that is burning”, concluded Ioli Christopoulou.

The presentation of the book “The world is burning” took place on 9 April 2024, at the bookstore “Ianos”. The other speakers were:

  • Dimitris Lalas, former president of the National Observatory of Athens.
  • Konstantinos Tsoukalas, professor emeritus of Sociology, University of Athens.

as well as the authors of the book:

  • Petros Kokkalis, Member of the European Parliament and secretary of the party KOSMOS
  • Xenophon Kontiadis, university professor and lawyer.

The presentation was moderated by journalist Tasoula Eptakili.

You can watch the entire presentation here, while Ioli’s speech is available on The Green Tank’s YouTube channel. Both videos are in Greek.