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Environment – Climate Change
As regards the environmental sector, addressing the effects of climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing the European Union. Despite the unsatisfactory outcome of the United Nations Conference (Copenhagen, December 2009), the Union seeks to consolidate its leading role in the international negotiations on the climate and intends to take initiatives within the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the 2030 Energy and Environment Framework towards making Europe the most environmentally-friendly region on the planet from a climate point of view. Efforts are also under way to bridge the existing differences within the Union and to continue dialogue with third countries. Τhe Conference of the Parties (COP21) that was held in Paris last November, has achieved very positive results towards a legally binding agreement. As far as direct actions are concerned, participating states have agreed on long-term goals aiming at creating and financing a climate protection system for the 2013-2020 period.
Greece welcomes this comprehensive, ambitious and legally binding agreement, capable of tackling global warming challenges, that was achieved at the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP21). We place particular emphasis on the combined results of energy and environmental policies in the areas of sustainable economic growth, job creation and social cohesion. Indeed, our country considers the energy and environmental objectives as interlinked. We, in this case, find ourselves with the task to determine the right balance between the need to maintain the transition to a low carbon economy and macro - economic impact of this on growth, competitiveness and employment.
The Union’s main objectives are to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% by 2020 (compared with 1990 levels) and reducing further by more than 20% if there is a global agreement, as well as to carry out an assessment of the risk of carbon leakage. Our country’s main aim is to establish environmentally-friendly policies providing incentives for using new technologies and taking advantage of Greece’s comparative advantages for the use of renewable sources of energy.