June 12 (UPI) -- There's no alternative but to pursue an energy strategy that calls for a low-carbon trajectory for economic growth, European leaders said from Vienna.
More than 100 delegates were on hand for a forum in Vienna on the transition to an energy pathway focused on renewable and alternative energy resources.
"There is no other alternative for the Energy Community members than to follow the path towards a sustainable, low-carbon future," Janez Kopac, the director of the energy community secretariat, said in a statement. "Sustainability measures are opportunities for job creation, economic growth, health improvements, and never a burden."
Turkey and Armenia are included in the community as observer states alongside their European counterparts. The forum in Vienna was to provide a platform that extended the low-carbon objectives into the Balkans.
"Countries of the Western Balkans need to diversify their energy mix, taking the lead in energy efficiency investment, to enable economic development, regional prosperity and climate justice," Executive Director of the Balkan Green Foundation Visar Azemi said.
The Balkans mark the European entry point for a string of pipelines dubbed the Southern Corridor, a network that aims to draw on gas supplies from countries like Azerbaijan in an effort to break the Russian grip on the regional energy sector.
Construction of a Russian natural gas pipeline through Turkish territory to Europe started earlier this year. Rival pipelines, like the Trans-Adriatic pipeline project, are making progress in their own right.
On the broader push for a low-carbon economy, representatives from the European Union and China said in early June they'd assume joint leadership now that the U.S. government has signaled its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the net impact from pro-climate policies for the Group of 20 industrialized economies would be a gain of about 1 percent for gross domestic production by 2021.