Sunday

7th Mar 2021

Stakeholder

Climate in spotlight at Prague European Summit 2020

  • Public officials, businesses and NGOs, journalists and academics, from the EU and abroad will discuss issues such as green transformation, renewable energy sources, industry decarbonisation or citizens' and companies' involvement.

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues in Europe. But climate change and the protection of the environment do not constitute a challenge for European leaders only - it calls for global and united action.

For that reason, climate change is the spotlight topic at Prague European Summit 2020 (18 and 19 November), which aims to provide a platform for discussion about current and future European challenges.

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Public officials, business and NGO representatives, as well as journalists and academics from the European Union and abroad will discuss the most relevant climate topics such as green transformation, renewable energy sources, industry decarbonisation or citizens' and companies' involvement.

Apart from that, the summit's international guests will debate post-pandemic recovery, EU leadership, new technologies, the rule of law and transatlantic relations.

Green transition

To tackle climate change, one of the most urgent issues of the last decades, efficiently, it needs to be addressed on all levels – including the European one.

On that account, this year's Prague European Summit endeavours to significantly deal with the climate change topic.

Green transformation presents a wealth of opportunities for both societies and economies. What are the costs of not embarking on an ambitious green transformation right now for citizens?

Naser Nuredini (minister of environment and physical planning of the Republic of North Macedonia), Masamichi Kono (deputy secretary-general of the OECD) and Helena König (deputy director-general at DG Trade, European Commission), among others, will discuss this phenomenon.

Using trade to protect the climate

The summit's programme will also address green transitioning in the industry context, which includes decarbonisation of the industrial and energy sector, robotisation, digitisation, and the potential of the industry to become a more active and constructive player in green transitioning.

The recent developments, such as the Amazon forest fires, highlight the need to reduce tensions between resource-needs and environmental protection.

In a discussion about using trade policy to tackle climate change and protect the environment, Stéphane Dion (special envoy of Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau to the EU), Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder (International Institute for Sustainable Development Europe) and others will answer questions related to EU's approach to trade, and environmental protection.

In addition, Janez Potočnik, co-chair of the United Nations Environment Programme's International Resource Panel, will deliver a Prague European Summit Talk about natural resources management for environment-positive trade.

Green Europe as a global leader

The European Green Deal as a whole also represents a fresh wind for the EU's global climate leadership.

The guests representing the Stockholm Environment Institute (Åsa Persson), European Council on Foreign Relations (Vessela Tcherneva) or Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic (Pavel Zámyslický) will debate aspirations of the Ursula von der Leyen Commission.

Achieving climate neutrality and net-zero emissions by 2050 is a goal which, according to scientists, the world should embrace if we are to prevent warming beyond 1.5°C.

Former Swedish minister of foreign affairs, Margot Wallström, will present a vision of Europe as a new leader in a greener, digital world.

The role of cities

Climate change is a challenge for all levels of governance, including municipalities.

The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, together with the vice-president of the European Investment Bank, Lilyana Pavlova, the head of the Green Cities programme at Wageningen University, Marian Stuiver, and others, will explore the issue of European cities and their potential in green transitioning.

Lastly, speakers of this year's summit will join a debate on decarbonisation and just transition which, most importantly, aims to open up the issue of transitioning of regions dependent on carbon-intensive industries.

These regions include central Europe, home of the Prague European Summit.

Magnús Jóhannesson, special adviser for Arctic affairs of the Icelandic chairmanship to the Arctic Council, and Tom Steyer, philanthropist and climate activist, will also deliver video messages to the attendees.

As this advanced list of climate issues shows, the climate change and environmental protection lie in the very heart of this year's Prague European Summit.

Join the summit, organised by Europeum Institute for European Policy and the Institute for International Relations Prague, and find out more about the most urgent topics in contemporary EU politics.

Author bio

Aneta Navrátilová is a student of European Studies master's programme at Masaryk University, Brno. Concurrently, she is an intern of communications team of Europeum Institute for European Policy in Prague and of the Czech Centre for Human Rights and Democracy located in Brno. In her articles, Navrátilová focuses on issues such as rule of law in the EU, V4 countries' position within the EU, EU-UK relations post-Brexit and climate change.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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