Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met, today, at Maximos Mansion, with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, who is paying a visit to Greece.

During the meeting, they discussed the challenges posed by climate change and ways to strengthen cooperation between Greece and the United States in dealing with the climate crisis and achieving the goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“What a pleasure to welcome you to Greece, Secretary. And I very much enjoyed our last meeting we had in Riyadh. And it’s a great privilege to be able to discuss with you the important global challenges that we’re facing when it comes to energy, biodiversity, climate change”, stressed the Prime Minister, at the beginning of the meeting.

“You know how committed Greece is to this agenda and how much progress we have made on numerous fronts over the past three years. I would, in particular, like to highlight the very fast penetration of renewables in our energy mix. We’ll be adding almost two gigawatts of new renewable power just in 2022, which makes us one of the European leaders in this front”, he added.

The talks also focused on the preparations for holding the “Our Ocean Conference” in Greece in 2024.

“But, of course, our agenda when it comes to climate is very broad. And I take particular interest in the issue of protecting our marine ecosystems. And I’m very happy that we will be able to be organizing the “Our Ocean Conference” in 2024. I’d also like to congratulate the Minister on his commitment to this cause. I’m sure it’s going to be a very successful Conference, and it will also be an opportunity for us to highlight the particular importance we place on protecting the very sensitive marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean, which is an issue I passionately care about”, pointed out Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Referring to the importance of the “Our Ocean Conference”, John Kerry said, from his part: “We’re very excited that Greece will be hosting the “Our Ocean Conference” in 2024. Many people don’t realize the interconnection between the oceans and the climate crisis. And you cannot solve the climate crisis without paying attention to what’s happening in the oceans and vice versa. You can’t solve it, oceans without climate, because the acidity of the ocean is changing dramatically”.

“And the warming of the ocean, where 90% of all the warming goes into the ocean, is literally having a profound impact on flooding, on intensity of storms and weather patterns. So we’re all in this together. And it’s so appropriate to have Greece, which has such an extraordinary shipping and maritime history, to be taking the lead following Panama. So that’s going to be a great step”, he added.

It is noted that the “Our Ocean Conference” was first established in 2014 when Mr Kerry was U.S. Secretary of State and has already mobilised more than 1,800 pledges worth in excess of 108 billion dollars in areas such as climate change, sustainable fisheries, the blue economy, protecting marine areas, maritime safety and pollution.

The Prime Minister briefed Mr Kerry on the initiatives undertaken by our country for the “green” transition and the reduction of carbon emissions, especially in shipping, ahead of their participation in the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt in November.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate pointed out “the special place that Greece really represents now, in terms of all of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Cairo, what’s coming with the next conference, you’re the hub. You’re in a critical place for the transport of electricity, for the transformation that has to speed up. And we really look forward to working with you and finding every new way possible”.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the priority given by both countries to ambitious but feasible solutions for an energy transition in the shipping sector.

Mitsotakis hailed the initiatives of the United States for reducing the energy footprint of shipping and expressed hope that they will help in the rapid adoption of global measures, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

He also stressed the pivotal role of the Greek-owned fleet – the largest in the world – for the success of any sustainable solution development goal in the specific sector.

A delegations’ meeting followed, that was represented, from the Greek side, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, the Chief Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister Alexis Patelis and the Chief Energy Adviser to the Prime Minister Nikos Tsafos.

On behalf of the US government, the US Ambassador to Greece George Tsunis, the Communications Director of the Office of John Kerry Whitney Smith, the Climate Change Advisor at the US Department of State Rohemir D. Ramirez Ballagas and the official of the US Embassy in Greece Andrea Aquilla participated in the meeting.