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Venizelos Addresses UN Climate Summit

Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Evangelos Venizelos offered the following address, during the United Nations General Assembly's Climate Summit 2014.

Venizelos' environmental statement can be read in full below

"Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, allow me to congratulate and thank the Secretary General for organizing and hosting the Climate Summit 2014.

Today's meeting constitutes a milestone on the road to Paris. It provides us with the opportunity to sustain momentum and capitalize on the work already undertaken to reach an ambitious, legally binding agreement next year, in order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

In Greece, our goal for obvious historical political and cultural reasons has been to ensure the adoption of climate and energy policies that foster growth and, in parallel, respond to the climate challenge, while reducing high energy prices and costs. Climate action is an unavoidable and imperative way forward for both economic recovery and a sustainable environment.

Particular environmental concerns are emerging in our region, those which, at a larger scale, constitute increasing challenges and, in fact, threats, to the planet; no country, irrespective of its size, can face these challenges alone. Collective action, at all levels, is imperative.

As part of the European Union, Greece is addressing climate change together with the other 27 Member States on the basis of the 20-20-20 targets.

Greece supports the European Commission's proposals for the 2030 Framework.
The EU Greek Presidency during the first semester of 2014 has maintained its focus on efficient energy use as well as on how to further develop renewable energy.

It should be noted that, above all, energy efficiency measures are effective policy tools aimed at easing the burden of consumers struggling with high energy prices. The Greek Government not only takes an interest in the economic dimension of energy efficiency, but also in the way it addresses climate change.

As regards the emphasis placed on renewables, it will enable us to look further into Europe's considerable resources and promote regional cooperation.

In this respect, let me refer to the vast wind and solar potential of the Greek islands, which could supply energy to many regions and thus contribute to the EU's overall renewables target.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasize the European Emission Trading System as an essential mechanism of the EU's 2030 strategy. Though not perfect, it has proven to be a remarkable tool granting new momentum to the efforts that deal successfully with climate change.

In this context, Greece firmly supports the "Putting a Price on Carbon" initiative and endorses its launch as one of the collaborative actions of this Summit.

Mr. President,

The Warsaw Conference showed the way for governments to work towards a draft text. Our wish for today's meeting is that it turns out to be a "summit for solutions", a catalyst for us to reach a universal, ambitious and legally binding climate agreement in Paris next year.

Convinced that we all share this imperative priority, I am optimistic about the success of our common endeavour.

I thank you, Mr. President".