Policies, measures and actions on climate change and
environmental protection in the context of COVID-19 recovery.
Secretary General of Natural Environment and Water, of the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy
- Emergency measures in the short term (a few months to one year) to address concerns that have directly emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and may include forced action.
- Socioeconomic measures in the medium term (one to a few years) with an environmental and climate focus to “build back better” from COVID-19, and usually involves planned, intentional action.
- Paradigm shifts and measures in the long term (more than a few years to a few decades) toward redesigning current socioeconomic and sociocultural systems to be sustainable and resilient.
1.Climate mitigation measures
RecoveryRedesignGreece has an ambitious climate policy both for climate mitigation and adaptation, having surpassed the green-house gas reduction targets set for 2020, and aiming towards a zero carbon society by 2050. To achieve that, Greece has adopted a revised National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) at the end of 2019, which stresses Greece's priorities and development potential in terms of energy and addressing climate change. The revised NECP has undergone public consultation, debate in the Greek Parliament and finally became national legislation. The main priorities set in the new NECP are: 1. Decarbonisation, i.e. the ending of Greece reliance on lignite by 2028, with the withdrawal of lignite-fire power stations of the Greek Public Power Corporation, and improvement of the power system (interconnection of certain islands with the mainland grid, etc). 2. Increase the penetration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) for electricity production to 60% within the next decade. 3. A target set for more than 42% reduction over 1990 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and more than 56% over 2005 emissions by 2030 in order to achieve a climate-neutral economy by 2050. 4. Energy saving initiatives, i.e. public and private funding programmes for the renovation of public buildings, industrial facilities and residences. 5. Optimal use of resources (energy, water, raw material) is one of the prerequisites for respecting planetary boundaries, halting biodiversity loss, and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve this a National Strategy for Circular Economy has been developed to promote circular use of materials and circular business models.
In order to ensure the implementation of NECP and to reach the relevant targets a number of legal and financial instruments have been introduced. Some of these instruments include investment in RES, in natural gas and electricity transport and distribution networks,financial incentives for the purchase of electric cars, etc. In more details Greece has introduced the following initiatives - Programmes:ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
Building sectorRecoveryRedesign"Saving energy/Energy autonomous buildings". It is an upgraded programme, with an estimated budget of € 850 million, which aims at energy saving and energy autonomy of households, with new incentives and interventions that encourage the production and storage of energy from RES and the installation of "smart" energy systems. It is a program fully adapted to the requirements of the National Energy and Climate Plan, but also the European Union guidelines for climate change policies. Programmes like this are increasingly embraced by the EU, especially through the Recovery Fund. That is why the Recovery Fund will be a central financial pillar for the "Wave of Renovations" which envisages that tens of billions of euros will be given for the energy upgrading of buildings across Europe.Referencehttp://www.ypeka.gr/el-gr/%CE%A5%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%81%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF/%CE%93%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%86%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF-%CE%A4%CF%8D%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85/%CE%94%CE%B5%CE%BB%CF%84%CE%AF%CE%B1-%CE%A4%CF%8D%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85/ID/818/To------850-----ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
Building sectorRecoveryRedesign"Electra". The scope of the programme is to improve the energy efficiency of the public buildings through interventions related to heating, cooling, ventilating, lighting etc. There is an available budget of € 500 million for the period 2020-2026.Referencehttp://www.ypeka.gr/el-gr/%CE%A5%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85%CF%81%CE%B3%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF/%CE%93%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%86%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%BF-%CE%A4%CF%8D%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85/%CE%94%CE%B5%CE%BB%CF%84%CE%AF%CE%B1-%CE%A4%CF%8D%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85/ID/831ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
Sustainable transportationRecoveryRedesign"E-mobility". Through the new established programme with an available budget of € 100 million, the purchase/rental of electric cars (private use and taxis), bicycles and motorcycles will be subsidized.Referencehttp://kinoumeilektrika.ypen.gr/ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
OthersRecoveryRedesign"Just Transition". Financial suport of projects for the development of sustainable economic activities with low carbon and environmental footprint in lignite areas that will be most affected by the energy transistion. As an initial step, "green" actions will be financed by Green Fund with an indicative budget of € 31 million.Referencehttps://www.prasinotameio.gr/%cf%80%cf%81%ce%bf%ce%b3%cf%81%ce%ac%ce%bc%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%b1/%cf%87%cf%81%ce%b7%ce%bc%ce%b1%cf%84%ce%bf%ce%b4%cf%8c%cf%84%ce%b7%cf%83%ce%b7-%ce%ad%cf%81%ce%b3%cf%89%ce%bd-%ce%ba%ce%b1%ce%b9-%ce%b4%cf%81%ce%ac%cf%83%ce%b5%cf%89%ce%bd-%ce%b3%ce%b9%ce%b1-%cf%84/ContactGreen Fund
Industry sectorRecoveryRedesignBy 2030, NECP aims to i) reduce total GHG emissions, excluding those from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), by 56% from 2005 levels (42% from 1990 levels); ii) reduce GHG emissions not covered by the EU ETS by 36% from 2005 levels, more than twice the reduction required for Greece by the relevant EU directive (16%);[i] iii) raise the share of renewables in gross final energy consumption to at least 35%; and iv) limit final energy consumption to 16.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent.
Furthermore Greece implements EU policy for the reduction of use of the F-GASES. In doing so Greece is about to introduce new legislation on the control of illegal import, trading, handling, etc of F-Gases and a National Database on all the relevant companies and the quantities importing, handling, trading, and all the machinery using F-GASES and its maintainance and management.ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
2.Climate adaptation measures
Adaptation planningRecoveryRedesignGreece has developed and adopted by means of Law 4414/2016 the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, which provides general objectives and guidelines for the preparation of the 13 Regional Plans for Adaptation to Climate Change. The Regional Plans, based on the climatic conditions and vulnerability of each region, will define the priority policy areas and geographic units for taking measures, and will also specify these measures, as well as the financial instruments for the implementation of the measures, the implementing bodies, the stakeholders, etc. The Greek regions are currently in the process of elaborating their own Regional Plans for Adaptation to Climate Change (with different degrees of maturity per Region).ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy / Regional Authorities
Adaptation planningRecoveryThe preparation of the Regional Plans for Adaptation to Climate Change is being assisted by the European programme Life IP – Adapt In Gr ‘Boosting the implementation of adaptation policy across Greece’8 . This 8-year programme is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy, with the participation of 19 bodies, including, inter alia, the Academy of Athens, the National Technical University of Athens, the Bank of Greece, as well as various Greek regions and municipalities. The aim of the programme is to support both the planning process and the implementation of the necessary adaptation measures at national, regional and local levels and to serve as leverage for mobilisation in order to facilitate effective adaptation to the impact of climate change in the following years.Referencehttps://www.adaptivegreece.gr/ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy as a Coordinator
Adaptation planningResponseRecoveryRedesignA high level permanent scientific Committee to address the Climate Change challenge started recently working in order to provide expertise in several critical issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Also a National Council on Climate Change Adaptation is responsible to coordinate actions through all sectors and ministries.ContactIndependent Committee - Council with members of many relevant ministries, NGOs, scientists, etc.
GovernanceRecoveryRedesign"Modernization of the environmental legislation". The new adopted legislative framework (Law 4685/2020) will simplify the licensing and permitting process of projects such as the installation of Renewable Energy Sources.ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
GovernanceRecoveryRedesign"Climate change clause". Mainstreaming climate change into national legislation. Moreover it is under discussion the preparation of a Climate Law.ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
4.Other environmental measures
Waste management and Circular economy / sustainable production and consumptionRecoveryRedesignIn 2018, Greece adopted a National Circular Economy Strategy and a two-year action plan, later extended to 2023. It is consistent with the 2015 EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The pillars of this strategy are sustainable resource management, support of circular economy and circular consumption.
The long-term (2030) goals of the National Action Plan on Circular Economy can be summarized as follows:
• moving up the waste hierarchy by focusing on preventing waste and improving recycling
• supporting circular entrepreneurship by promoting “industrial symbiosis” and business clusters
• supporting circular consumption patterns of re-using, re-storing and re-pairing rather than buying new products, especially for electrical and electronic devices
• enhancing multi-stakeholder partnerships across industry, academia, and civil society
• monitoring progress towards a circular economic model through SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) indicators.
The short-term actions involve regulatory and legislative reforms (e.g. setting standards on secondary materials, promoting green public procurement), financing and financial incentives, know-how and information actions and governance actions.
A dedicated Inter-ministerial Working Group has been set up to coordinate planning and implementation of the National Circular Economy Strategy and its action plan, steered by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MoEE) and composed by representatives from the other Ministries. The country also established a multi-stakeholder forum to promote circular economy business models and innovations.
While the national action plan on circular economy is in the course of revision, a national circular economy roadmap is under development, in line with the 2020 European Circular Economy Action Plan (COM/2020/98 final).ContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
OthersRedesign"Climate Change Adaptation" is identified as a key priority issue for bilateral and sub-regional cooperation between Greece / MoEE and several partner countries. E.g. in the context of the ongoing trilateral collaboration frameworks between Greece-Cyprus-Israel and Greece-Cyprus-Egypt, experience, know-how and information sharing on adaptation approaches is systematically pursued.Referencehttps://www.adaptivegreece.grContactMinistry of Environment and Energy
OthersRecoveryRedesignGreece has taken the initiative to raise awareness on the impact of climate change on cultural heritage.Referencehttps://ccich.gr/ContactMinistry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Ministry of Culture and Sports
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