Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face in the 21st century. As the EU's first Climate Action Commissioner, I am working to ensure that we invest in a sustainable future and in solutions that benefit the climate while strengthening our economy and energy supply.
Meeting climate challenges doesn't just mean avoiding flooding, drought and violent storms in the future. It's also about the economic and geostrategic interests of Europe, here and now. With 3.4 million jobs in Europe, green technologies already make up a key sector of the economy even now. And all forecasts indicate that they will increase significantly over the coming years. Green technologies have traditionally been one of Europe's strengths, but we need to redouble our efforts to keep up the pace in future years.
At the same time, Europe is already a net importer of energy. This makes us vulnerable, both when it comes to fluctuations in international energy prices and also to outside forces on the international stage. Unless we base our energy supply on renewable energy to a much greater extent and become far more energy-efficient, we will become increasingly dependent on energy from external sources.
My work as a Commissioner means ensuring that the EU follows an ambitious climate policy, both internationally and at home.
On an international level, we are pushing for progress in the UN negotiations, with an ambitious, legally binding agreement as our ultimate goal. Simultaneously, we are working to transform European society, so that by 2050 we have a strong, competitive low-carbon economy.
That implies setting goals that give a clear signal to investors and spur on businesses to find new, better solutions. It also means helping new technologies reach the market by supporting research and development. And last, but by no means least, it means communication: ordinary people being able to make informed, climate-friendly choices in their daily lives.
The way in which we deal with climate change in the years to come will have a decisive impact on our influence and geostrategic role in the world. So climate action is certainly one area in which it makes sense for EU countries to act together as a community, rather than each Member State on its own.