June 14, 2022
“We must do whatever it takes to eliminate our addiction to fossil fuels,” host Arnold Schwarzenegger’s emphasized in his opening speech at the sixth AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT at the Hofburg in Vienna. He strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and the dependence on Russian oil and gas. “No matter how you look at it, we have blood on our hands, because we are financing the war. We have to stop lying to ourselves.”
Making the impossible possible
For Schwarzenegger, technological solutions play a decisive role in the fight against climate change: “Right now, we have all the technology we need to leave fossil fuels in the past. To create a future, where our economy booms and our children breathe clean air,” Schwarzenegger emphasized in his speech, which he delivered live from his film set in Toronto. “Technology makes the impossible possible. My friends, technology can be our savior. We can build a future where our economy booms and our children breathe clean air. A future without pollution,” the former Governor of California is convinced.
We are running out of time
The Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, who traditionally is the honorary patron of the climate conference, urged: “Exactly 30 years ago the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted. Since then states have been discussing solutions. Far too little has been done to date. But now time is running out.” He appealed for action and added: “If we act now, I am optimistic that we can overcome the climate crisis. Because we have solutions that work, and more and more people, especially young people, are working on the implementation.”
International climate action heroes
Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed the topic of “Crises, Conflicts and Climate Change” with the two top climate and environmental experts from Europe and the USA: Michael S. Regan, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission. Michael S. Regan emphasised: “Under President Biden’s leadership, America is back and leading the way when it comes to tackling the climate crisis – and EPA is at the heart of delivering on that mission. From global leaders to youth activists, I am grateful for the productive conversations we had today about our work to protect people from pollution and accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.”
“The good news is that there is still hope,” added Frans Timmermans. “We have our fate in our hands. New solutions are being found every day, more and more countries are committing to a net-zero emissions path,” said the Vice-President of the European Commission. He also expressed urgency, stating: “The window for climate protection measures is closing fast. The climate and biodiversity crises are already here, no one can escape their consequences.”
The discussion panels were characterised by the need for cooperation at all levels – from politics to business to civil society. “Everyone must work together,” emphasised host Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was underlined by representatives from the business world such as Klemens Hallmann (Hallmann Corporate Group), Jan Jenisch (Holcim) and Ilka Horstmeier (BMW Group), who spoke about the concrete contributions and projects of their companies to combat climate change.