Greece

   

Environmental Policies

#36
Key Findings
With environmental policies neglected under the crisis, Greece falls into the bottom ranks internationally (rank 36) for its environmental policies. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.1 point as compared to 2014.

Industrial production and greenhouse gas emissions have declined as a result of the economic crisis. However, the country has not pursued a systematic approach to key environmental protection targets, including climate change, renewable water sources and forest biodiversity.

Economic growth is pursued at the expense of environmental policy. The huge inflow of tourists creates a waste-management problem that is not well managed. State mechanisms are unable to control pollution, urban development or large infrastructure projects effectively.

Greece participates in international conferences and signed the Paris climate accord, but crisis-management efforts have kept it from contributing further internationally or pursuing effective emissions-reduction policies domestically.

Environment

#37

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
4
In comparison to many other countries, Greece performs rather well on environmental policy. According to Yale University’s Environmental Policy Index, Greece is in the 22nd position among 180 countries with a score of 73.60 in overall environmental performance. Greece is among the 10 top world performers in access to water and sanitation.

After 2010, industrial production and greenhouse gas emissions in Greece declined – a consequence of the economic crisis. Recycling has only modestly increased over the past 15 years and waste management is not systematically practiced. Given that Greece, which has a population of 11 million inhabitants, receives an annual inflow of approximately 30 million tourists, one should expect a reliable policy of waste management. Such a policy, however, does not really exist. Particularly during the prolonged tourist season, waste overflows landfills in tourist areas.

Several causes lie at the root of Greece’s environmental challenges: a lack of state mechanisms capable of controlling sources of pollution, unchecked urban development, large infrastructure projects and negligent consumer behavior. Environmental and forest management is haphazard and subject to the vicissitudes of changing political leaderships and interests.

The crisis has exacerbated a tendency to privilege economic growth at the expense of environmental protection; nowadays growth is pursued at all cost. For example, on Greece’s coasts new hotel construction is mushrooming without much care for environmental concerns. In cities and rural areas, public works and town planning have likewise always been afforded priority over environmental protection. The result has been that important targets of environmental protection – climate change, renewable water sources and forest biodiversity – have never been pursued in a systematic fashion.

On a positive note, in 2017 the government introduced a so-called eco-tax of four cents for every plastic bag used for shopping or garbage. Greeks use plastic bags at twice the average among other Europeans. It has been estimated that plastic bags make up half of the waste in Greece’s waters. The eco-tax immediately impacted plastic bag consumption. As of 2019, the charge will rise to seven cents.

Citations:
Data on Greece’s performance regarding renewable energy sources, water management and recycling is drawn from the SGI database available on this platform.

Data from Environmental Performance Index https://epi.envirocenter.yale.edu/epi-indicator-report/EPI

Global Environmental Protection

#37

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
4
Greece participated in the negotiations and signed the Paris Climate Agreement of December 2015. However, owing to its prolonged economic crisis, Greece has not carried enough international clout to substantially contribute to strengthening global environmental protection regimes. Moreover, any emissions reduction is owed less to the strengthening of environmental protections and more to the fact that the economy remains stagnant, with industrial and other businesses closing down or relocating to other countries.

Citations:
Data on emissions reduction is provided by tables available on this SGI platform.
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