Brussels, 14 May 2013
Climate Action: Commission kick-starts public debate in Southern and Eastern Europe
European commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard is launching a series of public events to engage European citizens in the climate change debate and to encourage individual action to combat it.
Over the next two months, Commissioner Hedegaard will hold a series of dialogues with citizens, companies and authorities in five countries in Eastern and Southern Europe on how to accelerate action against climate change.
The countries covered by the initiative are Portugal and Italy in Southern Europe and Poland, Bulgaria and Lithuania in Eastern Europe. Characteristic for all these countries is that public concern about climate change is on the rise, and the potential to reduce emissions through personal efforts is higher than in other European countries. Eurobarometer opinion polls1 have shown that Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Italy have a great potential to raise the level of personal action on climate change.
"Yes, with our personal choices, all of us can make a difference in the fight against climate change. I want to listen to citizens and discuss what we can do as individuals to act against climate change. Buying local or energy labelled products, taking the bike or avoiding unnecessary waste of energy are some examples of easy habits. What is holding us back from doing the things that are obviously a good idea? I am looking forward to your input during these dialogues'' said Connie Hedegaard.
The dialogues are part of the Commission's pan-European public awareness campaign A world you like. With a climate you like. The background for the campaign is a vast, untapped potential for reducing CO2-emissions through behavioural change. According to research undertaken for the Commission, the EU could reduce emissions by 8-9 per cent by 2020 – or as much as half of Poland's annual emissions in 2010 – if all Europeans would adopt a healthy diet and adjust their habits in areas such as transport and heating.
Social media and face-to-face discussions
The dialogues will be modelled on the successful Visions for a world you like debates, which kicked off the campaign in London and Madrid. With the participation of the UK Secretary of State Edward Davey and Academy Award winner Colin Firth in the London event, and the Spanish Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Arias Cañete and the award-winning actor Sergio Peris Mencheta in Madrid, these conferences brought together hundreds of citizens and representatives of civil society, academia and business to define a positive, common vision for a clean, clever and competitive low-carbon society.
The five upcoming national events will vary in theme but all will combine debate between public, politicians and private sector with entertaining elements such as a fashion show for sustainable clothes, a cycling tour, photo exhibitions of low-carbon success stories and artistic performances. Many of the more than 160 campaign partners will support and be directly involved in the events.
Ahead of each event, the wider public will get a chance to give their input to the debate and engage online with the Commissioner through online chats on Twitter or Facebook.
Full details of the programmes and venues will soon be available at http://world-you-like.europa.eu/en/events/
Background information about the campaign:
Since its launch in October 2012, the campaign A world you like. With a climate you like has attracted more than 22.000 followers on social media and more than 160 official partners including public authorities, non-governmental organisations, academia and businesses. It aims to showcase existing cost-efficient solutions for achieving the EU's objective of an 80-95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as well as to encourage new solutions.
For more information, visit the campaign website and social media channels at: