(Photo from Anadolu) 

ATHENS – Climate change is a global problem that poses a serious threat to people all over the world, particularly to the poor, and requires regional and global cooperation and mechanisms to address this, underlined a prominent Greek climate scientist.

While wealthier people obviously have the ability to protect themselves from climate change and its effects such as extreme heat, life will grow harder and harder for the poor people, Kostas Lagouvardos, research director at the National Observatory of Athens, told Anadolu in an exclusive interview.

“To put it simply, when there is an extreme heatwave, those who can afford can turn on their air-conditioners without worrying about the electricity bill. Likewise, if drought leads to higher food prices, the rich would still be able to eat whatever they want,” he said.

Also, climate change is more dangerous for metropolitans where people live in packed districts than rural areas, added Lagouvardos, noting that they are more exposed to the hazardous effects of the extreme heat and floods.

Europe fastest-warming continent 

Geographically speaking, he said, the effects of climate change are more visible in Europe.

“According to the data from European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, Europe has been the fastest-warming continent in the world. Temperatures in Europe have increased by more than twice the global average over the past 30 years,” Lagouvardos said.

While warming is a continent-wide phenomenon, lack of rain and above-average temperature showed its negative consequences particularly in Portugal, Spain, and Italy in the forms of droughts and wildfires in early spring, he noted.

According to Lagouvardos, parts of Türkiye and Greece experienced below-average temperatures in an opposite warming trend that took the continent under its influence.

“Specifically, the temperatures in most parts of Crete island of Greece and central Anatolia in Türkiye remained below-average, which is exceptional in the European context,” he said.

When asked about the warnings by some experts that the western part of Türkiye and Greece can experience extremely hot weather this summer with temperatures up to 50 Celcius, he said there is no sufficient scientific data or proof to support such claims.

“We, however, should be ready for the worst scenario,” said Lagouvardos.

New mechanisms, cooperation 

Calling for global cooperation and the mechanisms to address the issue, he said: “What needs to be done globally is reducing carbon emission, the biggest cause of climate change. To this end, the transformation to green energy should be further accelerated. Also important is to build mechanisms that would facilitate this transformation and enforce universal rules.”

As to the regional efforts, Türkiye and Greece can join forces to combat climate change, he asserted.

“I cannot say what kind of initiatives and policies politicians can devise, but I, as a scientist, would like close cooperation with my Turkish colleagues. We can exchange relevant data and findings of surveys and co-develop projects, among other things. The climate change issue presents us, neighbors, a very good opportunity to work together,” Lagouvardos concluded. (Anadolu)