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IP/09/969

Brussels, 19 June 2009

Green Week 2009: Climate change – act and adapt

With a new international climate agreement due to be finalised at the Copenhagen conference in December, climate change is the natural focus for the European Commission's Green Week 2009 conference taking place from 23 to 26 June at the Charlemagne Building in Brussels. Under the slogan 'act and adapt', Green Week, the biggest annual conference devoted to European environment policy, will examine the multi-faceted challenges of reducing EU and global greenhouse gas emissions and of adapting to the climate change that is already under way. Eight of the sessions will also try to come up with a realistic vision of how a low-carbon world in 2050 would look. Over 4,000 participants from Europe and beyond are expected at the three-day event. Commission President José Manuel Barroso will give the keynote speech at the closing session on 26 June, which will look ahead at prospects for the Copenhagen agreement.

Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "With the Copenhagen conference coming up, 2009 has the potential to go down in history as a turning point in the battle to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels and causing human misery on a vast scale. Green Week’s comprehensive programme will enable participants to share knowledge about a wide range of aspects of the climate challenge that policy-makers, economic operators and society in general need to be addressing now.”

Four themes, 36 sessions

Now in its ninth year, the Green Week conference and associated exhibition has established itself as a major annual forum for dialogue and for sharing experience, expertise and best practice in protecting the environment.

Green Week brings together participants from different levels of government, international institutions, business, non-governmental organisations and the scientific and academic communities. The objective is to discuss the most effective ways to protect and improve Europe's environment for current and future generations. The event is open to all participants free of charge. More than 4,000 participants have registered so far.

Green Week 2009 looks at climate change under four headings: EU climate change policies; the international dimension; living with climate change; and '2050 vision: a carbon-free society.' The programme comprises 36 conference sessions, some organised in partnership with the Brussels think-tank Friends of Europe, plus a small number of additional side sessions.

The broad spectrum of issues that will be covered includes implementation of the EU climate and energy package, the impact of climate change on employment and social cohesion, how biodiversity can adapt to climate change, 'greening' the economy, the challenge for agriculture, the international security dimension and latest developments in carbon capture and storage.

Commissioner Dimas will speak at the high-level opening session, as well as at the closing session focusing on 'The Road to Copenhagen.' Besides President Barroso, the other speakers at the closing session will be Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren and Professor Wang Yi of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Other speakers at Green Week 2009 include:

  • Ladislav Miko, Czech Environment Minister

  • HE Roy Mickey Joy, Ambassador of Vanuatu

  • HE Joy Grant, Ambassador of Belize

  • Festus Mogae, UN Special Envoy on climate change

  • Prof Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office

  • Steve Fludder, Vice-President, GE Ecomagination

  • Jeff McNeely, Chief Scientist, International Union for the Conservation of Nature

  • Ray Hammond, author and futurologist

All sessions will be streamed live on the Green Week web site at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/greenweek/home.html .

LIFE Awards and evening events

On 24 June, from 1400 to 1600, the five "Best of the Best" LIFE-Environment projects for 2008-2009 and the five "Best of the Best" LIFE-Nature projects for 2007-2008 will be presented and receive awards. The winning LIFE-Environment projects are from Denmark, Luxembourg, Italy (2) and the UK, while the LIFE-Nature projects are from Spain, Finland (2), Hungary and Greece.

Further information about the projects is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/bestprojects/best2008-2009/index.htm (LIFE-Environment)

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/bestprojects/bestnat2007-2008/index.htm ( LIFE-Nature)

There will also be events each evening during Green Week, including a screening on 24 June of the new climate change film The Age of Stupid.

Press conferences

Commissioner Dimas and Minister Miko will hold a joint press conference on 23 June at 1230 in the Berlaymont press room.

Commissioner Dimas and Minister Carlgren will hold a joint press conference on 26 June at 0915 in the Salon Rouge, Charlemagne Building.

For security reasons all participants, including journalists accredited to the EU institutions, will require a Green Week badge to enter the Charlemagne building. It is possible to register on arrival at the conference or online in advance (recommended) at:

https://gw09.regware.be/

Further information:

Full Green Week programme and Press Corner:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/greenweek/home.html


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