Schwarzenegger: “People need encouragement“

Arnold Schwarzenegger for more positive approach to environmental movement. Hopeful communication was the focus at the fifth AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT in Vienna.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back Vienna - to attend his climate conference, the AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT, again this year. In his opening speech, he had an urgent appeal for the approximately 350 guests at the Spanish Riding School and the countless viewers who followed the climate conference via livestream and live broadcast.

Schwarzenegger: positive mood important

“All over the world environmentalists are working themselves to the bone, their hearts so full of wanting to make things better - often even risking their lives”, so Schwarzenegger. In the end, however, the messages hardly get through. The general population is literally flooded with negative headlines about melting icebergs, flooded cities, parched land and what they will have to do without in the future. “Is it any wonder people are confused or tuned out?”, the former governor asks. Schwarzenegger draws a vivid comparison with the movie business: “No one is going to invest huge sums of money in a movie where there is no hope.“ He therefore urgently pleads to keep the messages in the fight against climate change simple and, above all, to report on successes in this area. Because: “People need encouragement, not just threats and despair.” He is convinced: “If we all work together, we can terminate pollution. We can do it. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”

Van der Bellen: Politicians needs to act

Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen surprised the audience when he began his speech by stating that he did not want to talk about the climate. "I want to talk about us people," Van der Bellen said. "Healthy Planet - Healthy People. This phrase sums it up: everything we humans do affects our planet - and the health of our planet in turn affects us." His great hope for a positive development in the climate crisis, he said, is that "we humans can learn from mistakes." With the Paris climate agreement and the European Green Deal, the first steps have already been taken, the president said confidently. "We must continue to work together. Many companies have already recognized the signals, but it is now up to the politicians in particular. I am confident that we will master the climate crisis," Van der Bellen emphasized.

Kurz: Economic recovery with focus on climate protection

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz: "We have set ourselves very ambitious climate goals in Austria, including becoming climate neutral by 2040. We also support the European Union's ambitious climate targets." Kurz also pointed out that climate protection has been placed at the center of the governments Corona Aid Fund- similar to the EU's "Next Generation EU" reconstruction fund. Kurz is certain that "European companies can play an important pioneering role in the green and sustainable transformation of the global economy. I am convinced that like the fight against the Corona pandemic, the fight against climate change can be won by the cooperation of science, business, civil society and politics."

The USA is back

Besides the EU climate policy the new US administration was a focus of the fifth AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT. Representatives of the US reported on the ambitious climate protection plans President Joe Biden has set - first and foremost the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Michael S. Regan: “The president has set a very ambitious but much needed goal.“ He explained, that they have a government wide strategy. “We are all in and we are willing to work together row the same direction in order to achieve the president’s mission. And by the way: it is achievable and we gonna do it.”

High Level Panel: A last chance

In the prominent high-level panel, the discussion focused on possible actions and solutions to fight the climate crisis. Alok Sharma, President of COP26 in Glasgow, summed up the urgency: “In Paris we said we would do anything to keeping it below 1.5° and I believe that Glasgow is our last chance to keep this goal alive.” Another essential point is climate justice and the fact that poorer countries in particular suffer from the effects of climate change - mainly caused by rich industrialized countries. The President of the Seychelles, a small island nation existentially threatened by climate change, had a clear message on this: “Please bring about the change! We are tired of seeing beautiful figures on paper, in statements, we need action.“ Climate change activist Greta Thunberg vehemently criticized the inaction of decision makers while meanwhile “the gap between your rhetoric and reality keeps growing wider and wider.”

Businesses with ambitious goals

Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke about the role of companies and their goals with representatives of the business world. Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple, who came all the way to Vienna, said: “Apple is carbon neutral today, and we’ve made a commitment to bring our entire supply chain and customer product use to carbon neutral by 2030. In order to tackle the global problem of climate change, companies need to show just how possible it is to achieve carbon neutrality and work with governments to create systemic change." She also announced that Infineon Technologies AG has joined the Apple Supplier Clean Energy program. Lisa Jackson said, "I’m excited that Infineon is joining our program and that they are going to use 100 percent green energy for their Apple production."


© The Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative


Natascha Unger
The Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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