‘Awareness and interest’ in global climate change at its peak

The #climate4
growth initiative aims to ‘break down rhetorical gridlock’ to ‘encourage discussion of issues’, writes Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein.

EU climate and energy policy has perhaps never been as central to pan-European affairs as it is today. Awareness of and interest in the global fight against climate change is peaking both among policymakers and across the global society. The European Union has always sought to maintain a leadership position in furthering climate ambition, whilst still maintaining a strong focus on economic and industrial prosperity. [pullquote]As policymakers, we seek to formulate climate and energy policy that addresses the challenges facing our planet, but also protects Europe’s industrial base and fosters sustainable growth and development[/pullquote].

In September 2013, I, along with my fellow member of the European parliament Danuta Hübner, became the Brussels face of a new initiative called #climate4growth. It brings together many different stakeholders in the realm of EU climate and energy debate. The campaign provides a forum for constructive and open dialogue on how best to ensure that Europe achieves its objectives in combating climate change without hampering economic growth.

The #climate4growth initiative runs in Brussels and Berlin, and is coordinated from Warsaw by the ministry of foreign affairs of Poland. It is a collaborative project that presents Poland as a voice to be heard in the debate surrounding the multifaceted international policy framework. By launching a series of high-level events, interactive online ‘live chats’, and engaging directly with my fellow decision-makers at EU level, and representatives from the spheres of industry, science, and civil society, we have successfully entered into meaningful discussion with those whose opinions matter to this crucial debate. It was launched in September 2013 and runs until the beginning of March this year.

In my role as a face of the #climate4growth initiative, I strongly support its message of breaking down rhetorical gridlock to encourage fresh and honest discussion of the issues at stake. Speaking at the campaign’s launch event on 17 October 2013 in Brussels, I highlighted that climate and energy policy has the potential to be a true source of economic development. I am happy to be part of this campaign and have readily participated in its events and ‘live chats’, as they allow all interested parties to come together to discuss climate and energy policy that reinforces, rather than stymies, economic growth, which is a policy avenue we should all actively pursue.

The final event in the campaign calendar – a high-level stakeholder roundtable in the European parliament in Brussels on 18 February – will address the central 2030 climate and energy package, as unveiled by the European commission on 22 January. Entitled ‘How can Europe deliver its contribution to 2015 agreement in the framework of 2030 climate and energy policy?’, it will seek to address core elements of the proposed package ahead of the spring council summit on 20 -21 March. It will also contextualise the discussion in the broader framework of global climate negotiations, with an esteemed panel and guests entering into an interactive dialogue on prospects for achieving our climate ambitions. As the roundtable host, I invite you to join me, Danuta Hübner, and many others at this event to make your contribution to the EU’s future in climate and energy policy.