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Education for Climate Coalition: European Commission organizes first gathering of young people and education communities




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On 22 June, the Education for Climate Coalition met in an online conference, where students, teachers, education institutions and stakeholders discussed with policymakers how young people and the education community in general can be involved in achieving a climate neutral and sustainable society through concrete actions. Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said: “'To make a difference' – this is what the #EducationForClimate Coalition is all about. To make a difference in your school, in your neighbourhood, in the very region you live in and where you contribute actively to the green transition our societies go through.” 

During the conference, a community panel with Commissioner Gabriel, Minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Portugese minister of education from the Council Presidency, and Anne Karjalainen, member of the Committee of the Regions/FI/ PES, chairwoman of the SEDEC Commission opened the conference. Pupils, teachers and education stakeholders then presented the first co-designed community prototype, and participants learned how they can participate in a series of workshops being organised from July to November 2021. The Education for Climate Coalition was launched in December 2020 to mobilize the education and training community to work together towards achieving a climate neutral and sustainable European Union. Through a new website, students, teachers and other interested parties in the education system can join the community and engage in climate-related education initiatives. More information and a recording of the conference are available online.


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Executive Vice President Timmermans holds High-Level Climate Change Dialogue with Turkey



Executive Vice President Timmermans received Turkish Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum in Brussels for a high-level dialogue on climate change. Both the EU and Turkey experienced extreme impacts of climate change during the summer, in the form of wildfires and floods. Turkey has also seen the largest ever outbreak of ‘sea snot' in the Marmara Sea – overgrowth of microscopic algae caused by water pollution and climate change. In the wake of these climate change-induced events, Turkey and the EU discussed areas where they could advance their climate cooperation, in the pursuit of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Executive Vice-President Timmermans and Minister Kurum exchanged views on urgent actions required to close the gap between what is needed and what is being done in terms of cutting emissions down to net-zero by mid-century, and thereby keep the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement within reach. They discussed carbon pricing policies as an area of common interest, considering the forthcoming establishment of an Emissions Trading System in Turkey and the revision of the EU Emissions Trading System. Adaptation to climate change also featured high on the agenda along with nature-based solutions to counter climate change and biodiversity loss. You can watch their common press remarks here. More information on the High-Level Dialogue here.


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German election: Hunger strikers want greater action on climate change



A group of young people are in the third week of a hunger strike in Berlin, claiming Germany's political parties aren't adequately addressing climate change ahead of this month's general election, writes Jenny Hill, Climate change.

The protestors - aged from 18 to 27 - have vowed to continue their hunger strike until the three leading candidates vying to replace Angela Merkel agree to meet them.

There's a subdued atmosphere among the little tents and hand-painted banners close to the German Chancellery in Berlin.


The six young people who've been on hunger strike for more than a fortnight say they're feeling weak.

At 27, Jacob Heinze is the oldest of the protesters here (organisers say four other people have joined their hunger strike away from the camp). He speaks slowly, clearly struggling to concentrate, but told the BBC that, while he's afraid of the consequences of his "indefinite hunger strike", his fear of climate change is greater.

"I already told my parents and my friends there's a chance I'm not going to see them again," he said.


"I'm doing this because our governments are failing to save the young generation from a future which is beyond imagination. Which is horrific. We're going to face war regarding resources like water, food and land and this is already a reality for many people in the world."

With less than two weeks to Germany's general election, Jacob and his fellow protesters are demanding that the three leading candidates to replace Angela Merkel as German Chancellor come and talk to them.

Hunger strikers for climate policy in Berlin, 2021

Climate change is, arguably, the biggest election issue here. German politicians have been influenced by the mass street protests of young climate change activists in recent years but this summer's deadly floods in the west of the country have also focused public concern.

Even so, say the hunger strikers, none of the main political parties - including the Green party - are proposing adequate measures to address the problem.

"None of their programmes is taking into account the actual scientific facts so far, especially not the danger of tipping points (major irreversible climatic changes) and the fact that we're very close to reaching them," says spokeswoman Hannah Luebbert.

She says the protesters want Germany to institute a so-called citizens' assembly - a group of people chosen to reflect every part of society - in order to find solutions.

"The climate crisis is also a political crisis and maybe a crisis of our democracy, because the set up with elections every four years and the great influence of lobbyists and economic interests within our parliaments often leads to the fact that economic interests are more important than our civilisation, our survival," Ms Luebbert says.

"Such citizens' assemblies aren't influenced by lobbyists and it's not politicians there who are afraid of not being re-elected, it's just people using their rationality."

A view of a climate activists camp near the Reichstag building on September 12, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
The hunger strikers say none of the candidates are doing enough to prevent a climate catastrophe

The hunger strikers say that only one of the Chancellor candidates - Annalena Baerbock of the Green party - has responded, but that she spoke to them by telephone rather than meeting their demand for a public conversation. She's appealed to them to end their hunger strike.

But the group - which is attracting increasing publicity - have vowed to continue, though they acknowledge the distress of their families and friends.

Even so, Jacob says, his mum supports him.

"She is scared. She's really, really scared but she understands why I take these steps. She's crying every day and calls every day and asks me isn't it better to stop? And we always come to the point where we say no, it's necessary to continue," he said.

"It's really necessary to wake people up all over the world."

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The climate clock is ticking fast



Most agree that urgent action needs to be taken to tackle the growing crisis caused by climate change. That is why leaders from 196 countries are meeting in Glasgow in November for a major climate conference, called COP26. But adaptation to climate change also comes at a price, writes Nikolay Barekov, journalist and former MEP.

Increasing awareness about economic costs of not taking measures regarding adaptation to climate change is an important part of adaptation policies. The economic costs of the results of climate change and the costs of not taking measures will be high on the agenda in Glasgow.

There are four COP26 goals, the third of which is under the heading of “mobilising finance.”

Nikolay Barekov, journalist and former MEP.

A COP26 spokesman told this website, “To deliver on our goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. “

That means, he said, that international financial institutions must play their part, adding, “we need work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.”

To achieve our climate goals, every company, every financial firm, every bank, insurer and investor will need to change, says the COP26 spokesman. 


“Countries need to manage the increasing impacts of climate change on their citizens’ lives and they need the funding to do it.”

The scale and speed of the changes needed will require all forms of finance, including public finance for the development of infrastructure we need to transition to a greener and more climate-resilient economy, and private finance to fund technology and innovation, and to help turn the billions of public money into trillions of total climate investment.

Climate analysts warn that, if present trends continue, the cost of global warming will come with a price tag of almost $1.9 trillion annually, or 1.8 percent of U.S. GDP per year by 2100.

EUReporter has looked at what four EU nations, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey are currently doing – and still need to do - to meet the cost of tackling climate change, in other words meeting the objectives of goal number three of COP26.

In the case of Bulgaria, it says it needs €33 billion to start meeting the main goals of the EU Green Deal over the next 10 years. Bulgaria could be among those most affected by the decarbonization of the EU economy. It accounts for 7% of the coal used in the EU and 8% of the jobs in the EU’s coal sector. Around 8,800 people work in coal mining in Bulgaria, while those indirectly affected are estimated at over 94,000, with social costs at about €600 million per year.

Elsewhere, it has been estimated the more than €3 billion is needed in Bulgaria just to meet the minimum requirements of the EU’s Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

For it to complete the Green Deal, Bulgaria will have to spend 5% of the country’s GDP each year.

Moving to Romania, the outlook is just as serious.

According to a report published in February 2020 by Sandbag EU, Romania could almost be said to be set for success in the EU’s race to a net-zero economy by 2050. Due to several changes in the structure of the economy following the post 1990 transition, Romania has seen massive drops in emissions, being the fourth EU Member State to reduce its emissions the fastest against 1990 , although it is not on a predictable and sustainable trajectory to net zero by 2050 yet.

However, the report says that Romania is the country in South East European or Central East European with some of the “best enabling  conditions” for the energy transition: a diverse energy mix of which almost 50% of it is already greenhouse gas emissions free, the largest onshore wind farm in the EU and huge RES potential.

Report authors Suzana Carp and Raphael Hanoteaux add “Yet, Romania continues to be one of the lignite intensive countries in the EU, and despite its lower share of coal in the mix than the rest of region, the required investment for its energy transition are not to be underestimated.”

This, they say, means that on the European scale, Romanians still pay more than their European counterparts for the costs of this carbon intensive energy system.

The country’s  Minister for Energy has estimated the cost of transitioning the power sector by 2030 to be some €15-30bn and Romania, the report goes on to point out, still has the second lowest GDP in the Union and therefore the actual needs of investment for the energy transition are extremely high.

Looking to the future, the report suggests that one way of meeting the cost of decarbonisation up to 2030 in Romania could be  through “a smart utilisation” of ETS (emission trading scheme) revenues.

One EU country already seriously impacted by climate change is  Greece which is expected to incur even more adverse effects in the future. Acknowledging this fact, the Bank of Greece has been one of the first central banks worldwide to actively engage in the issue of climate change and invest significantly in climate research.

It says climate change appears to be a major threat, as the impact on almost all sectors of the national economy “is expected to be adverse.”

Recognising the importance of economic policymaking, the Bank has released “The Economics of Climate Change”, which provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art review of the economics of climate change.

Yannis Stournaras, governor of the Bank of Greece, notes that Athens was the first city in Greece to develop an integrated Climate Action Plan for both mitigation and adaptation, following the example of other megacities around the world.

Michael Berkowitz, president of The Rockefeller Foundation’s '100 Resilient Cities' said the Athens Plan is an important step in the city’s “journey to build resilience in the face of the myriad challenges of the 21st Century”.

“Climate adaptation is a crucial part of urban resilience, and we’re excited to see this impressive step by the city and our partners. We look forward to working collaboratively to realize the goals of this plan.”

Another country badly hit by global warming this year is Turkey and Erdogan Bayraktar, Minister of Environment and Urbanization, warns Turkey will be one of the most impacted Mediterranean countries not least because it is an agriculture country and its water resources are rapidly diminishing.”

As tourism is important for its income, he says “it is an obligation for us to attach the required importance on adaptation studies”.

According to climate experts, Turkey has been suffering from global warming since the 1970s but, since 1994, the average, highest day temperatures, even the highest night temperatures skyrocketed.

But its efforts to tackle the issues is seen as currently blighted by conflicting authorities in land use planning, conflicts between laws, the sustainability of ecosystems and insurance regimes that do not reflect sufficiently climate change risks.

Turkey’s Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan calls for indirect financial policies for adaptation to climate change and supporting mechanisms.

The Plan cautions that “In Turkey, in order to adapt to the effects of the climate change, cost-benefit accountings regarding adaptation at national, regional or sectoral level are not conducted yet.”

In recent years, a number of projects which aim at adaption to climate change have been supported by the United Nations and its subsidiaries so as to provide technical assistance and Turkey shares in the Clean Technology Fund25.

But the Plan says that, currently, funds allocated for scientific research and R&D activities in climate change adaptation activities “are not sufficient”.

It says: “There hasn’t been research for conducting climate change impact analyses of the climate dependent sectors (agriculture, industry, tourism etc.) and determination of adaptation costs.

“It is of great importance to build information on the cost and financing of climate chance adaption and to evaluate the road map concerning these issues more comprehensively.”

Turkey is of the view that funds for adaptation should be provided on the basis of certain criteria, including vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change.

The generation of “new, adequate, predictable and sustainable” financial resources should be based on the principles of “equity” and “common but differentiated responsibilities”.

Turkey has also called for an international, multi-optional insurance mechanism to compensate for losses and damages that arise from climate induced extreme events such as droughts, floods, frost and landslides.

So, with the clock ticking fast in the run up to the global event in Scotland, it is clear each of these four countries still have work to do to tackle the huge costs involved in combating global warming.

Nikolay Barekov is a political journalist and TV presenter, former CEO of TV7 Bulgaria and a former MEP for Bulgaria and former deputy chairman of the ECR group in the European Parliament.

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