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European Climate Pact
News article15 March 2024Directorate-General for Climate Action4 min read

European Climate Pact: Community driving the change

European Climate Pact: Community driving the change
European Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra sat down with members of the Climate Pact community at the Pact’s annual event to discuss driving climate action forward across Europe.

This year’s European Climate Pact event gathered over 200 members of the Climate Pact community from across Europe to work together on new ways to spark climate action in their local communities.

The participants, including Pact Ambassadors, Partners and Country Coordinators from 27 EU countries, made their way to Brussels on 5 March to share their experiences and views on the future of climate action in Europe.

Welcome by the Executive Vice-President Šefčovič

The full day of brainstorming and showcasing examples of best practices was kickstarted by Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. He stressed the EU’s commitment to climate action and a just transition, and acknowledged the Climate Pact’s pivotal role in connecting Europeans who want to tackle the climate crisis with concrete solutions.

“Achieving the transition to a climate-neutral EU will not be easy, but by working together, we have the power to shape a more sustainable future and improve people’s lives – through cleaner environments, healthier food, better-insulated homes, new green jobs and opportunities to innovate.” – Executive Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

Exploring solutions in breakout sessions

As a next step, breakout sessions widened the discussion and allowed participants to share their stories of climate action from the ground, especially those involving the use of quick-start tools for citizen engagement launched recently by the Pact. The Ambassadors and Partners also brainstormed how joining forces and building partnerships for climate action can help amplify the impact of the Climate Pact.

European Climate Pact: Community driving the change
Climate Pact Ambassadors, Partners and Country Coordinators brainstormed solutions and strategies to spark climate action.

In another session, several initiatives involving the EU working on climate action with national, regional and local authorities were presented – such as the Committee of the Regions’ Green Deal Going Local initiative, the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change, the Building Europe with Local Councillors network, and the work of the European Commission’s Representations across the EU.

Yet another group focused on the challenge of fighting climate disinformation and considered strategies to tackle it.

A conversation with Commissioner Hoekstra

In the afternoon, the Climate Pact community were joined by European Commissioner for Climate Action Wopke Hoekstra. The Commissioner stressed that the science is clear on the need for urgent climate action. He also emphasised the importance of bringing business and industry along, and working with EU countries and international partners, as essential to make further progress.

“If there was one word I would single out to make sure we drive climate action further, the word would be together.” – Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra.

 

European Climate Pact: Community driving the change
Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra joined the Climate Pact community for an interactive discussion on climate action on the ground.

The Commissioner then joined a panel with Climate Pact Ambassadors specialising in fields ranging from energy to fashion.

Damilola Adeyanju, Global Future Energy Leader at the World Energy Council and co-leader of the Future Energy Leaders initiative of the Netherlands, focused on how support to grassroots solutions can boost energy efficiency of buildings.

Dan Boyle from Ireland, Chair of Cork City Council’s Environment Policy Committee, cited the example of the Community Climate Action Programme which helps communities play a meaningful part to tackle both the climate crisis and biodiversity loss across Cork.

“We have a piece of natural marsh land that was being used as a dump, and it’s now a public park…we see it as emblematic in addressing climate mistakes of previous generations.” – Dan Boyle.

Timo Huhtamäki from Finland, circular economy expert and CEO of Emmy Clothing Company, a second-hand fashion e-commerce company in the Nordic countries, spoke about the potential of circular economy for transforming consumer markets.

Luisa Barateiro, a biologist and epidemiologist from Portugal and member of the board of the Union of Women Alternative and Response, put the spotlight on the need to ensure a just transition and support vulnerable groups.

“Through our climate literacy projects for women, we have seen that there is still a lack of information about the impact of climate change on our lives, especially on the human health level.” – Luisa Barateiro.

Renewed momentum for climate action

All good things must come to an end, and so did the 2024 European Climate Pact event. The participants from across Europe, with different backgrounds, professions and experiences, had exchanged insights, examples and ideas to empower citizens, build partnerships, localise climate actions and fight disinformation. They had listened to stories and solutions from the fashion world, local community organisations, and under-represented groups. And finally, they had heard a clear call from the Commissioner for continued cooperation on the way to a climate-neutral EU.

Hopefully the members of the Pact community returned home with renewed energy, new connections and ideas to inform and inspire their next steps in climate action. Next year they will have an opportunity to tell new stories at the next Climate Pact annual event – stay tuned!

And what can you do?

Everyone can be part of the change and join the Climate Pact community in creating a sustainable future. The Climate Pact website is full of ideas: get started with climate action at home, take part  in an event near you, or organise a group climate activity in your community.

If you are looking to make an even bigger difference, calls for Ambassadors and Partners are announced each year – subscribe to the Pact’s newsletter to be notified about the next call.

To watch the full recording of the afternoon session with Commissioner Hoekstra and view the event’s photo gallery, visit the event page

Details

Publication date
15 March 2024
Author
Directorate-General for Climate Action