On occasion of Earth Day, The Cyprus Institute calls for a transition to a more sustainable “normal” that safeguards against the unfolding climate crisis. Cyprus and the surrounding region are a climate change hotspot. We have no time to waste.
The 22nd of April marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, an international initiative taking place across 175 countries, to promote sustainability for people and planet. As the world’s attention rightly remains firmly focused on tackling the devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Earth Day highlights the urgency to respond to another global emergency – the climate crisis.
The most crucial takeaway from the global coronavirus response is that time is of the essence. To safeguard our future, we must treat the pandemic as a wake-up call for urgent, coordinated climate action, ensuring recovery is utilized as a chance to build back better.
That is particularly important for Cyprus and the wider Mediterranean and Middle East region which is a climate change hot spot. Summers warm much faster than in the rest of the world, and some parts of it are already among the hottest locations globally. A recent study led by researchers of the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C) of The Cyprus Institute found that if we continue in a business-as-usual manner, in 30 – 80 years from now, prolonged heatwaves and temperature extremes as high as 56C will likely become the norm, posing tremendous risk to our survival.
The time to act for climate is now. Our future is at stake.
The Cyprus Institute is deeply committed to contributing to addressing the climate crisis, and supporting the government, industry and the public in dealing with the specific challenges facing Cyprus and the region. The Institute leads on research and innovation in many relevant areas including climate, water, and energy. It also supports the Government with emissions monitoring in line with international directives and educates aspiring climate scientists through its graduate programmes. Regional efforts are enhanced through the Climate and Atmosphere Research Center (CARE-C), a research and innovation Center of Excellence established at the Institute. While as a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Institute actively promotes the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Cyprus Institute is also honoured to be coordinating the scientific component of the Cyprus Government Initiative for Coordinating Climate Action in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), aimed at the creation of a Regional Action Plan to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. To form this Plan, final findings and proposed measures of the Initiative’s scientific task forces will be presented to Governments of the EMME during the 2nd International Conference “Climate Change in the Mediterranean and the Middle East” on 13 & 14 October 2021. Conference Findings will also be presented at COP26.
Looking at that important event, The Cyprus Institute is fully aware of the importance of raising awareness on the linkages that exist between Climate Change and the protection of the Environment. In this regard, specific initiatives are under consideration in collaboration with the British High Commission and the Embassy of Italy in Cyprus reflecting the role that UK and Italy have as co-Chair of COP26. The Ronald Ross Lecture in May and the Enrico Fermi Lectures on April 26th will both address issues of particular relevance for the public debate that will prepare and inspire governments’ decision at the COP26.
The Cyprus Institute regularly hosts public events for all ages relating to environmental matters, and aims to introduce even more activities that enable the public to get involved with climate action. We often tend to view the climate crisis like an issue that is too big or too complex for any individual or local contribution to be meaningful. But as the past year has taught us, when it comes to global public safety and prosperity, we all need to work together. No act is too small.