20. June 2024


At the eighth AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT, Schwarzenegger criticized the bureaucracy and red tape that is slowing down progress towards a clean future.

At the eighth AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT, which took place in Vienna’s Hofburg Palace on June 20th, host Arnold Schwarzenegger mentioned two sides to his personality in his speech: when it comes to motivation, “there is inspiring, pat on the back Arnold” but there is also the ” kick in the ass Arnold”, who speaks harsh truths. On the one hand, Schwarzenegger paid tribute to the decades of work by many for environmental protection, but on the other, he emphasized the need to go beyond visions, to develop and implement concrete plans – even if it is uncomfortable. Schwarzenegger: “A vision is the first and most important step in everything you do. But after the vision comes the plan. And after the plan, the work starts.”

“Do the math!” – Too much bureaucracy hinders progress

Speaking in front of the 700 international guests at the climate conference Arnold Schwarzenegger criticize: “Governments around the world are allowing bureaucracy to stand in the way of progress and a clean energy future.” He cited examples from Germany, the EU, the UK and the USA, where lengthy approval procedures are delaying the transition to clean energy. “Do the math!” he urged after each example, calling for visions for a clean energy future to be backed up with concrete plans and hard work.

Different and better

Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, who traditionally took over the honorary patronage of the climate conference, emphasized the numerous advantages of climate protection in his speech. “We are gaining cities that are green and energy self-sufficient. Mountain meadows, glaciers, with clean air and clean water. We gain apartments and houses that we heat with sustainable energy. We will have roads with climate-friendly mobility.” He described a world in which people make good use of the earth’s resources and experience summers without extreme heat waves, floods, water shortages, droughts and hailstorms. Van der Bellen concluded with the words: “We are winning a good future. So: Yes, it will be different. It will be different – and better.”

Strong voices from the US and the EU

EU Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič praised the EU’s first-class legislation paving the way for the green transition. “But to continue making progress, we need full buy in. From citizens. From businesses. That means creating a better business case for investing in green and clean technologies,” Šefčovič emphasized and added: “Platforms like the Austrian World Summit do a great job in fostering engagement, exchanges and conversations.”

John Podesta, Special Envoy of the US President for Climate Action, spoke about the progress made since the Paris Agreement and the efforts of the USA. President Biden and Vice President Harris have set the goal of reducing US emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. This will be supported by the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment package in clean energy and climate protection in history.

Successful transformation and sustainable lifestyles

The panel discussions covered topics such as green finance, showcasing successful transformation examples, and improving conditions for an environmentally friendly lifestyle. In September, Arnold Schwarzenegger accepted an invitation from plant manager Klaus von Moltke to visit the BMW plant in Steyr and witness the successful transformation towards e-mobility. Holcim, Austria’s largest producer of building materials like cement and concrete, demonstrated that even CO2-intensive industries can contribute to decarbonization. Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Officer of Holcim Ltd, explained how the company plans to reduce CO2 emissions across the entire value chain, positioning itself as an industry pioneer. Klemens Hallmann, CEO of Hallmann Holding, highlighted the significant potential in the construction and operation of buildings, particularly through the use of PV systems and solar thermal energy. To emphasize the importance of caring for our planet, Hallmann produced the film “DreamScapes,” and presented its trailer at the AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT.