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hosts, and this actually makes a major

difference. Europe has an historical role, and

everybody is looking very carefully at the

approaches that are being taken.

“Europe has been a traditional investor in

renewable technology and was instrumental in

bringing costs down; it just needs to make sure

that we benefit from those investments. What

should not be underestimated is combining the

diplomatic force of the EU and the plans by

European Commission Vice-President Federica

Mogherini for the climate diplomacy action plan,

making sure that economies around the world

join in on intended nationally determined

contributions. These are very good ways to

exert European climate leadership.”

Wolff said it is important to have a “process of

review and enforcement”, helping to lead to an

“improvement on those pledges”. He hopes that

such a move will lead to a closing of the gap

over time between the various stages countries

are in regarding combatting climate change.

This, he said, is “probably the right way of

dealing with that. We actually think that this

paradigm shift will have a much bigger chance

to achieve the goal and that it will achieve it.

The year 2014 actually had a lot of positive

news on the climate scene – emissions came

down, China consumed less coal, and

investment renewal had risen by 17%.

Investment into these areas is becoming

a sensible business proposal for many

institutions, and this will become self-propelled;

if it’s self-propelled, then it will actually be

sustainable in the long run.”

Global role

Through its diplomatic muscles, the EU has the

potential to encourage countries throughout the

world to build economies that are both

environmentally friendly and leading

international competitors.

“They have to lead by example,” Wolff said.

“The EU has been able to link sustainability with

competitiveness, which is being followed very

closely by other countries, although some

people are afraid that this aspiration for

sustainability will lead to deindustrialisation. Yet

only through targeted industrial and smart

“80% of renewable investment, which has increased from last year, is

coming from China, and Europe needs to make sure that we are not left

behind on innovation investment, a claim for its future.”

It is now considered that the benefits of combatting climate change will

not affect the long term objective of business growth but will instead bring

new attributes, as Wolff outlined: “A new carbon economy report was

published last year by the UN that set out that business and environment

are not in contradiction, but actually reinforce each other. Environmental

protection is about new markets and technology, growth and jobs. We see

more and more businesses agreeing with this, and we need to, as well:

you need to invest today and define your place in the future.

“If this is a new paradigm, we need to make sure we achieve investment

on a critical mass and ensure that there is an industrial strategy at

European level. China has targeted seven sectors in which it wants to

become world leader, from alternative car technology to advanced

materials. We need to make sure that we achieve critical mass to keep

leadership on a global scale, and hopefully Horizon 2020 will be the

instrument to achieve that.”

Leading role

Later this year, world leaders will gather in Paris for the COP21 talks on

climate change. Wolff commented that the discussions in Lima in 2014

were the “preparatory sessions”; however, the talks in France should not

be seen as “the end of the game,” he said.

“Even though these climate negotiations present a pivotal moment every

five years, the view should be that this is not the end of the process,

but rather a beginning of a hopefully more educated and more

constructive process.

“The EU is the host of the conference and we have seen that the

Peruvians have done a great job in linking effectively with the French

I S S U E S E V E N

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

www.horizon2020projects.com

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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : C L I M AT E A C T I O N

As emissions fell and

investment in

renewable energy

increased, last year

was deemed a

successful year in

combatting climate

change, says Wolff