On May 18, GLOBE EU hosted an event on the recovery of resources from End-of-Life Products.
With demand for raw materials increasing and mining companies having to go deeper each year to extract these raw materials from the earth’s crust, increasing the use of materials embedded in discarded consumer goods was widely seen as mankind’s best shot at limiting the use of virgin raw materials and lowering the environmental and social impact of traditional mining.
Speakers from the International Resource Panel, Umicore, Tarkett, Dow, and H&M were able to demonstrate that collecting and recovering these secondary raw materials has huge potential but is not without its issues. EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) schemes can help, but only when fragmentation is avoided and schemes are harmonized across EU Member States.
On November 17, GLOBE EU invited representatives from the European Climate Foundation, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and IUCN to convey their organization’s perspective on the European Green Deal’s proposed measures and their likely impact on climate mitigation, resource consumption, and biodiversity. Panelists did not only consider the challenge to adopt a coherent approach to the implementation of the EGD throughout the policy-making process to avoid mutually conflicting measures. They also focused on what would be required to monitor the impact of all measures proposed by the EGD taken together: will a simple set of indicators be sufficient and how can the EU Commission ensure timely feedback on the effect of these measures so that it can modify policies if the EGD appears to be steering the EU in the wrong direction.
On June 10, 2021, GLOBE EU hosted Dr. Jem Bendell, Professor of Sustainability Leadership with the University of Cumbria.
Jem Bendell is the author of “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy”, in which he argues that humanity needs to prepare for climate-driven societal collapse, as environmental change increasingly disrupts social, economic, and political systems. Unlike climate change adaptation, which aims to adapt societies gradually to the effects of climate change, deep adaptation accepts that abrupt transformations of the environment are imminent.
On 18 January, 2022, GLOBE EU hosted as its guest speaker Jason Hickel, who authored “Less is More: How Degrowth will save the World”. Dr. Hickel addressed the reality of climate change and what he believes to be the true root of the problem: Capitalism. He explained that, if we truly wish to overcome the largest issue humanity has ever faced, there is only one solution and that is degrowth.
On March 22, 2022, World Water Day, GLOBE EU welcomed Cate Lamb as its guest speaker. Ms Lamb is Global Director Water Security with the CDP and High-Level Climate Champion Lead for Water, UNFCCC. The event was sponsored by Ecolab, a member of the Bee Group.
On June 21, 2022, GLOBE EU hosted a WakeUp Call with Richard Heinberg. Richard is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost educators on the need to transition society off fossil fuels. He spoke on the 50th anniversary of the publication of “The Limits to Growth”.
On September 28, 2022, GLOBE EU welcomed Laura Cozzi, Chief Energy Modeller with the International Energy Agency. Laura addressed the current EU energy crisis and explained how Putin’s threat to cut off gas supplies to Member States could be used to boost clean energy and build a resilient & affordable EU energy system.
On April 12, 2023, Sirpa Pietikäinen and Ville Niinistö welcomed former GLOBE EU President and honorary member Anders Wijkman and former EU Commissioner and co-chair of the International Resource Panel Janez Potočnik. The Club of Rome presented its landmark “Limits to Growth“ report 50 years ago, warning of the potential resource depletion caused by population growth and the unlimited quest for material goods on a finite planet. Andersand Janezhave since releaseda follow–up report exploring how to provide the majority of the world population with a decent standard of living while staying within planetary boundaries. Anders explained thefive major turnarounds identified by the report, including addressing poverty and inequality,empowering women, transforming food and energy systems, and reducing material consumption, particularly in industrialized countries. Janez mentioned that the International Resource Panel had identified resource use as the root of the triple planetary crisis, driving 90% of land–related biodiversity loss, 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, and one-third of health–related pollution impacts. He also mentioned the three major blind spots identified by The Club of Rome, Systemiq, and Open Sciences Foundations in the EU’s efforts to implement the European Green Deal: lack of holistic system change approach, lack of focus on natural resource use, and market signals, and lack of demand–side focus in policy attention. He explained that to address these issues, we must prioritize human needs over economic growth, create an economy that acknowledges our embeddedness in nature, and reform our governance structures.Economically, we must change market signals to incentivize sustainable resource use and reward innovative and responsible ways of meeting human needs. This transition can be achieved by changing tax structures and using public money and subsidies to support it, as well as service provisioning, technology, and financial assistance. Janez concluded by emphasizing that a green future is necessary for there to be any future at all.
On October 11, 2023, Professor Thomas Elmqvist from the Stockholm Resilience Center presented a SAPEA paper on crisis management. Thomas discussed the increase in extreme wildfires on a global scale and the concerning trend of wildfires occurring in areas where they have not typically happened. He mentioned specific examples of increased wildfire events in Europe, Canada, and Greece, and the significant carbon emissions resulting from these fires. He further explored the need for proactive measures and funding allocation towards wildfire prevention and reduction of risks rather than focusing primarily on emergency responses. Thomas introduced the concept of response diversity, which emphasizes the necessity of diverse ways of responding to shocks in order to maintain the functionality of the system as a whole. He highlighted the trade-off between efficiency and response diversity and emphasized the importance of considering scale while acknowledging the potential consequences of increasing efficiency and simplification on a global level. He concluded by discussing the trajectory of coping capacity, adaptive capacity, and transformative capacity in the face of cascading crises, and the increasing need for response diversity policy management.
On September 8, members of GLOBE EU hosted an event (online, due to limited access to the European Parliament) together with experts on sustainable food systems, resource efficiency, and biodiversity to discuss how land for agricultural activities (growing crop, livestock) can be used more efficiently. Speakers demonstrated how land use optimization (e.g., by promoting regenerative agriculture) would not affect current yield levels while the environmental impact of farming would be significantly reduced thereby restoring biodiversity.
GLOBE EU, with the support of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and The Club of Rome, was pleased to host three panel discussions –on our use of natural resources, the protection of our natural capital, and the sustainability of urban infrastructures and mobility– in the European Parliament, Brussels, on October 15, 2019.
The conference, which was hosted by GLOBE EU members Sirpa Pietikäinen, Peter Liese, and Seb Dance, opened with a statement by general (retired) Tom Middendorp of the International Military Council on Climate and Security. His address was followed by interventions from Sandrine Dixson-Declève (The Club of Rome) and Joss Blériot (the Ellen MacArthur Foundation).