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Sound and independent information
on the environment


Climate change mitigation (Greece)

Why should we care about this issue

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

The climate in Greece is changing. Since the end of the 1990s, the temperature has been increasing, especially during summer. The increase is lower in winter. According to the results from worldwide climate models, average temperatures in Greece are projected to increase from 3.1°C to 5.1°C by 2100, with an average value of 4.3°C, given any error that the downscaling method can bring in this estimate.

Regarding precipitation, there is a decreasing trend on an annual and seasonal level, mainly over the period 1980–2000, with increasing trends over the next years. Summer precipitation in Greece is projected to decrease, whereas winter precipitation is projected to increase. The intensities, patterns and duration of heavy rainfall are heavily affected by the local scale. The intensity of summer rainfalls increases, while presenting a decreasing trend for the winter and annual rainfalls. Only Athens presents a positive trend, due to heavy rainfalls over the last years.

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011


The main driving forces of environmental pressures on climate change are related to population and economic trends, transport, energy and agricultural demand and household consumption.

According to the 2001 census, the population of Greece increases by the rates given in Table 1 (NSSG, 2009). The number of individuals per household is estimated to decrease annually, reflecting ageing of population and new living arrangements (Table 2, MINENV, 2009).

Final energy consumption in Greece has increased by 57.2 % between 1990 and 2007. Transport represents its highest share (38.7 % in 2007, increased by 48 % since 1990). The fastest growing sector, but with low share, is services (Figure 1 GR – EEA CSI 027).

Energy intensity has been decreasing steadily (-15.1 % over the period 2000-2007), reflecting a weak decoupling of total primary energy consumption (increase by 13.4 %) from GDP (increase by 33.6 %) (Figure 2 GR-EEA CSI 028). This results from the rapid GDP growth, the structure of the Greek economy (e.g. small industrial base, large international shipping sector) and EU funded investments to improve energy efficiency in industry (IEA, 2006).

Fossil fuels continue to dominate total energy consumption, but environmental pressures have been reduced, partly due to a significant switch from coal and lignite to relatively cleaner natural gas. Renewable energy sources together with natural gas (shares 5.2 % and 10.8 %, respectively in 2007) have been the growing energy sources between 2000 and 2007 (Figure 3 GR – EEA CSI 029).

The shares of the specific energy sources in renewable energy consumption in 1990 and 2007 are presented in Figure 4 (GR – EEA CSI 030). Significant growth will be needed to meet the indicative target of a 12 % share of renewable energies in 'primary' energy consumption in the EU by 2010.

The share of renewable electricity in gross electricity consumption has increased from 5 % in 1990 to 12.1 % in 2006. Hydropower dominates renewable electricity production in Greece (share of 76.9 % in 2006) (Figure 5 GR – EEA CSI 031). Additional contributions from renewable electricity should be made in order to meet the overall renewables target of 18 % by 2020.


Table 1.            Average annual population rate of increase







Rate of increase (%)







Table 2.            Average annual household size rates of change





Rate of decrease (%)





Figure 1.

Figure 1.          Final energy consumption in Greece


Figure 2.

Figure 2.          Total energy intensity in Greece


Figure 3.

Figure 3.          Primary energy consumption in Greece



Figure 4.

Figure 4.          Shares of renewable energies in renewable primary energy consumption,

1990 and 2007




Figure 5.  

Figure 5.          Shares of renewable energy in gross electricity consumption, 2000-2006



Base year GHG emissions in Greece (1990 for CO2, CH4, and Ν2Ο - 1995 for F-gases) were estimated at 107.71 Mt CO2 eq. In 2007, greenhouse gas emissions (without LULUCF) were 131.85 Mt CO2 eq, showing an increase of 22.4 % compared to base year emissions (1990 for CO2, CH4, and Ν2Ο - 1995 for F-gases) and of 24.9 % compared to 1990 levels (Figures 6, 7; GR - EEA CSI 010). This increase testifies that Greece is in compliance with the +25 % Kyoto Protocol target.

The Shares of GHG emissions by sector in 1990 and 2007 are given in Figure 8, whereas their changes over this period in Figure 9. Transport (excluding international air and maritime transport) was responsible for 18 % of the total GHG emissions in 2007. Transport GHG emissions by categories and gas, are given in Table 2 (GR - EEA TERM02).


Table 2.            Shares of GHG emissions from transport by category and gas, 2007  





Road transport




Internal navigation


















Figure 6.

Figure 6.          GHG emission trends in Greece, 1990-2007 (Index Base year=100)


Figure 7.

Figure 7.          GHG emission trends in Greece, 1990-2007 (Index 1990=100)



Figure 8a.

Figure 8a.         Shares of GHG emissions by sector, 1990

Figure 8b.

Figure 8b.        Shares of GHG emissions by sector, 2007


Figure 9.

Figure 9.          Changes in Greek greenhouse gas emissions by sector, 1990-2007

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

Greece is anticipated to achieve its +25 % Kyoto target by 2010 through reductions from existing measures alone. With the existing domestic policies and measures in place, the 2010 emissions (without LULUCF) are expected to reach a level of +23.53 % compared to base-year emissions, while the additional domestic policies and measures could bring a smaller increase by +21.92 % compared to base-year emissions (Figures 10, 11; GR – EEA CSI 011).

Between 1990 and 2007, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Greece decreased in all sectors, except transport and energy (excluding transport) (Figure 12). A similar pattern is projected between 2007 and 2010. Significant reductions in greenhouse emissions have been achieved between 1990 and 2007 from existing measures in the sectors of waste and agriculture. In 2010, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to ‘stabilise’ to 2007 levels, as a result of additional measures in the energy sector and transport.

Possible impacts on the natural environment and human health have not been estimated.


Figure 10.

Figure 10.         GHG emission trends and projections ‘with measures scenario’,

 Index 1990=100


Figure 11.

Figure 11.         GHG emission trends and projections ‘with additional measures scenario’,


Index 1990=100



Figure 12.

Figure 12.         Changes in GHG emissions by sector in Greece, 1990-2010

Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

Greece’s climate change policy, strategy and programme plans are set out in the National Climate Change Programme’. The First National Programme was adopted in 1995, the Second in 2002 and revised in 2007. All three iterations placed heavy emphasis on achieving GHG emission reductions commitments by: changing the fuel mix to include a higher percentage of natural gas and renewable energy sources; improving energy efficiency and conservation in all sectors; effecting structural changes in agriculture and transportation; reducing emissions in waste management; and (to serve longer-term needs) expanding research and development efforts.

Greece participates in the EU emission trading scheme (ETS) for CO2, which has been operational since 2005. In 2006, a Bureau for GHG Emissions Trading was set up within YPEHODE, and the National Centre for the Environment and Sustainable Development was assigned responsibility for the management of the national registry. Despite the relatively low CO2 allowances prices, the EU ETS has stimulated the Public Power Corporation (PPC) to undertake large-scale efficiency improvement programmes at lignite-fired power stations.






The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

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