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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of 1992 defines climate change as "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods." Excessive greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming and thus climate change. In coping with the consequences of climate change, Slovenia has been following the policies, measures and practices of the European Union and is facing great challenges in achieving the set common climate objective of carbon-neutrality by 2050.

The impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change

While long-term stable concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere is essential for favourable living conditions on the planet, increased concentrations of greenhouse gases cause temperatures in the atmosphere to rise.

Consequently, water temperatures rise, snow melts, rainfall becomes more intense, droughts last longer, and other extreme weather events that adversely affect living conditions and the economic situation occur.

In recent years, most greenhouse gas emissions in Slovenia were caused by transport, followed by the energy sector, industry, agriculture and the waste sector.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Climate change mitigation encompasses the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The EU Emissions trading system (EU ETS) and the binding reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in non-ETS sectors (transport, buildings, agriculture, industry and waste) curb emissions through measures based on the use of new technologies and renewable energy sources and on changing practices and consumer behaviour.

Climate change adaptation requires a systematic and planned reduction of vulnerabilities and an increase in resilience to the observed or expected impacts of climate change.

Climate change is a global problem

The impact of climate change reaches beyond the borders of individual countries. It is therefore important for countries to cooperate in the fight against climate change. A global response is necessary in order to address or mitigate the impact of climate change, which means that the activities must be simultaneously coordinated in as many countries as possible.

An important milestone in climate change measures was the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the first universal, legally binding global climate change agreement, adopted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.

The key objective of the Paris Agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel dependency through reasonable measures, thereby limiting the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. In accordance with their requirements, individual parties to the agreement submitted the objectives and plans of measures and actions to achieve the common objective. The agreement also provides for financial support to developing countries due to historical responsibility. Slovenia is a party to the Paris Agreement.

National Energy and Climate Plan

The Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan is a strategic document laying down the objectives, policies and measures for Slovenia on the five dimensions of the Energy Union for the period up to 2030.

Development-oriented objectives are decarbonisation through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in renewable energy sources, the improvement of energy efficiency, ensuring energy security and the development of an internal energy market, and investing in research, innovation and competitiveness in the field of decarbonisation and energy efficiency technologies. The plan envisages that by 2030, the total of greenhouse gas emissions in Slovenia will be reduced by up to 36 % compared to 2005 and the share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption will amount to at least 27 %.

It also provides for improvements in the distribution of electricity, an increase in energy efficiency (including through measures of social and housing policies), and an increase in investments in research and development for an efficient transition to a circular economy and a carbon-neutral society .

Achieving the set climate objectives and energy targets will be one of the key national priorities by 2030, as climate change significantly impacts the quality of life for all.