Get to grips with climate change is the slogan, and the objective, of this year’s Green Week, the Commission’s annual conference programme and exhibition showcasing EU environment policy. Green Week 2005 will take place in the Charlemagne building from 31 May to 3 June in the week leading up to World Environment Day on 5 June. Some 200 speakers from Europe and around the world have been invited to the 20 conferences, workshops and talks that will explore different aspects of climate change, and in total around 4,000 participants are expected. Parallel ‘Green Days’ will be held in Member States, giving Green Week a pan-European dimension. Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner for Environment, will open Green Week 2005 at 9:45 on 31 May.
In the year the Kyoto Protocol has come into force, climate change is the natural choice of theme for Green Week, the largest annual international forum for discussing EU environmental policies. “Climate change is one of our biggest environmental challenges and a major threat to our economies. Our aim in bringing together key players and stakeholders during Green Week is not only to listen but also to try to move towards workable and cost-effective solutions, particularly in view of the further efforts that will be needed to achieve global reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Commissioner Dimas.
Other Green Week speakers include Commission Vice-President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot; His Excellency Kazuo Asakai, Ambassador of Japan to the EU; Ms Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; and Mr Alain Hubert, Belgian polar explorer.
Full-day conferences will focus on two topical climate issues. One will evaluate the pioneering EU Emissions Trading Scheme, launched on 1 January, and look at how it could be further developed. Greenhouse gas emissions from aviation will be the subject of the other full-day conference. This will help to inform a Communication on this topic that the Commission plans to issue in the summer.
Green Week sessions will also look at climate change from a wide variety of other angles, including the low-carbon economy of the future, how broadcasters cover climate change and how far nature will be able to adapt to rising temperatures. One forum will bring together politicians from Europe and the US to look at political ambitions on each side of the Atlantic.
Children will take centre-stage at an award ceremony on 3 June for the best drawings, paintings and video films on climate change entered by 6-16 year-olds in the Green Week schools competition.
Besides these events Green Week features an exhibition where almost 70 institutions and stakeholders from around the EU will showcase their projects and partnerships and share best practices. Green Week will also be the venue for the first Brussels showing of a major international exhibition of photographs on climate change commissioned by the British Council and The Climate Group.
Extending Green Week’s reach, parallel Green Days will be held in Member States focusing on urban environmental issues, endangered species and business and environment issues.
The Commission intends to make Green Week 2005 ‘climate neutral’ by investing in schemes to compensate for the emissions it generates and by inviting participants to do the same.
Commissioner Dimas will give a press conference on the opening day of Green Week at 13.45 in Charlemagne.
For the full programme and to register, please see http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/greenweek/index_en.htm
Three new video news releases on climate change produced for Green Week are available to TV stations through http://www.tvlink.org/