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"On a world level, it is intolerable to have those who lose out"

Met dank overgenomen van Portugees voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 26 februari 2021.

“Portugal was the first country in the world to commit itself to carbon neutrality, and it firmly believes that we can only create value and grow the economy within the limits of the natural system.” This was the message with which the Portuguese Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, opened the international conference “Climate Change - New Economic Models”, organised under the auspices of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

“Europe underscored just this with the EU Green Deal: the investment in sustainability is essential to an improvement in the conditions of the planet and to economic growth,” Matos Fernandes stressed in his welcoming address to the participants in the event.

Matos Fernandes recalled that “when we talk of climate change, the word mitigation pops up, that is, a reduction in emissions”. However, he continued, “for Portugal to reduce its emissions by 85% in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, we cannot concentrate solely on energy, even if from a broad point of view, from transport to buildings and from industry to economic activities”.

In the view of the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, it is vital “to discuss new forms of production and consumption”, and this why the topics of the bioeconomy and circular economy were included in the conference. Matos Fernandes emphasised that “only with the new model, which gives greater importance to natural capital, abandoning a linear model of the economy - which extracts, transforms, transports, uses and discards - will we be able to achieve, in the end, the alchemy in which nothing is waste and everything is a resource”.

“We also know that combatting climate change is a challenge for every one of the peoples on the planet. Moreover, it is of fundamental importance that we realise that, on a world level, it is intolerable to have those who lose out. Geostrategy and a planetary-level approach are thus indispensable. There is a particular continent that concerns us more than all the others and, for this reason, Africa will be notably present at this conference,” he concluded.

Seventeen experts and authors are participating in the High-Level Conference “Climate Change - New Economic Models” to discuss the importance of the new economic models in combatting climate change. The University College London economist and professor, Mariana Mazzucato, is the event’s principal speaker. Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Christian Patermann, international expert in bioeconomy, and the writer Mia Couto are among the other speakers.

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