• Europe Day on 9th May sees the launch of EIB’s 360° Quest for Climate Solutions initiative highlighting impactful projects to increase climate resilience in Greece and across Europe
  • New immersive video experiences also with Greek subtitles showcase two key climate change research projects in the country
  • Climate action investment is among the EIB's top priorities, with significant increases in projects expected in Greece in 2022

Combating climate change remains among the biggest challenges across Europe and the world. For the sixth year in a row, the European Investment Bank (EIB) increased its finance projects that contribute to climate action and environmental sustainability, including in Greece.

For Europe Day, the European Investment Bank is inviting viewers to visit virtually some of these innovative climate projects for themselves via a unique, immersive 360-degree video experience, entitled EIB 360° Quest for Climate Solutions. The two episodes from Greece, which also include subtitles in Greek, enable viewers to see at firsthand how Greek scientists are exploring the secrets of the Mediterranean to gather valuable data that help find solutions to climate change and model its impacts in the region.

In the episode “Mediterranean Sea Odyssey”, the EIB’s 360 video crew invites viewers to embark on a climate expedition aboard a marine research vessel in the Aegean with Greek researchers to study the climate change-threatened ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea about which we know surprisingly little.

In the episode “Lost Island of Climate Science”, viewers are invited to learn about the remote island of Antikythera, where a new climate science station called PANGEA will open new vistas of knowledge — and see some of the most stunning Mediterranean scenery in virtual reality. The PANGEA station, being built with EIB support, will dramatically improve and expand the data needed to create accurate climate models to predict and respond to the large shifts in weather now affecting the Mediterranean, a climate change hotspot.

“As the EU climate bank, it is our responsibility to support Greece’s ambitious climate goals, in line with national strategies and the Paris Agreement. The Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine have made our main objectives: climate mitigation, climate adaptation and a sustainable recovery, even more relevant. The new 360° Quest for Climate Solutions helps viewers embark on virtual journeys to visit ground-breaking projects that are making a difference in the fight against climate change in Greece. This visionary approach helps further reinforce our role as the EU’s climate bank,” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, the EIB Vice-President responsible for Greece.

“Funding from EIB is of vital importance for the successful implementation and completion of this project. Building of the new research vessel would have not been realistic without EIB’s loan to the Hellenic State. The new research vessel will replace the old R/V AEGAEO that was built in 1985 and has been serving the Greek and international marine research community for nearly 40 years. It will be state of the art equipped and will constitute an extremely valuable, major, research infrastructure that will boost climate change related research and support any kind of actions against climate crisis. It will support the goals of the national research strategy and the research priorities defined by the European Commission with the aim to improve knowledge of the marine environment, contribute to marine spatial planning and focus on the study of and response to climate change. The HCMR has participated with great pleasure in the 360-degree video series of the European Investment Bank. The collaboration with EIB’s team and video shooting on board the R/V AEGAEON at the sea as well as in Cretaquarium and the aquaculture facilities provided us with the opportunity to promote high-level research activities accomplished in our Centre,” said Dr. Antonios Magoulas, HCMR Director and President of the Board of Directors.

“Understanding and fighting climate change is a priority for the National Observatory of Athens. The PANGEA project is a big leap forward in measuring atmospheric and climatic parameters, building reliable climate models for the southeastern Mediterranean region, which is a climate change hotspot, and in eventually providing high-quality consulting services related to natural disasters to the State. The data that will be acquired will help us understand how climate change will evolve in the coming years and its consequences on the environment, society and economy. The development of the PANGEA infrastructure would be rather impossible to realize without the EIB's loan, which will finance the building construction and the major scientific equipment of the project. Also, it was a great experience, as well as a lot of fun, to work with the EIB team for the implementation of the 360 degree video, with an excellent outcome,” said Professor Manolis Plionis, Director of the National Observatory of Athens.

Unique projects in a unique region

Given that aside from the Arctic and the Antarctic, the Mediterranean region is one of the regions most affected by climate change - the area is warming 20% faster than the global average – these unique and state-of-the-art climate research projects are vital to the fight to tackle the effects of climate change in the region.

The EIB signed a loan of up to €57.5 million to the Greek state in July 2020 to help finance PANGEA and the new oceanographic vessel for the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research. The projects are expected to take five to six years to complete.

The new state-of-the-art research vessel will replace the current Aegaeo ship - the one which has been sailing since 1985. It will expand the capacity for research on everything from the effects of climate change to the search for undiscovered life forms at great depths. The new vessel will be able to support up to 20 crewmembers and 30 scientists — more than twice the capacity of the old ship. It will be about 70 meters long and about 15 wide, with five decks. It will have more than 200 square meters of scientific laboratories, ample open deck space, oceanographic winches, cranes and A-frames for deployment and recovery of scientific instruments.

The PANGEA research center, a project lead by the National Observatory of Athens, will be the first fully-equipped atmospheric research station in southeastern Europe of its kind to be able to collect the necessary data needed to create the models that would help predict and plan for the consequences of the climate crisis in the region.

About EIB 360

The EIB 360° Quest for Climate Solutions is an interactive, free platform on the EIB website where viewers can embark on virtual journeys to visit groundbreaking projects that are making a difference in the fight against climate change in Europe. Filmed with state-of-the-art 360° cameras in some of Europe’s most stunning scenery, these short videos are presented by an EIB reporter, who interviews top scientists, engineers, experts and eco-conscious entrepreneurs on the ground. So far, the series has covered projects in Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Viewers gain a new perspective on innovative solutions to the climate crisis as well as cutting-edge climate research. The 360° camera work makes it possible for viewers to immerse themselves in these beautiful and remote locations – being able to look in all directions – as they follow our reporter. The episodes are in English, with subtitled versions available in the native language of each location. An interactive map of Europe allows viewers to enter each 360° experience with a simple click of a mouse.