Resource efficiency, looking at how to move towards a low-carbon economy and calling on people to “use less and live better” are key themes of the European Commission’s Green Week 2011 four-day conference that starts today in Brussels.
Running until 27 May, the event will be webstreamed in its entirety, with more than 3,500 scientists, business leaders, environmental advocates and business leaders converging in Brussels to look at ways of achieving a resource-efficient Europe, part of the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable growth and jobs.
The conference will look at areas such as greener chemicals, green skills, employment and innovation, financing eco-innovation, food waste, waste as a resource, water efficiency and construction.
According to the EU Commission, this year’s conference is not just about setting resource consumption limits, but also about looking at the jobs opportunities that will transpire as Europe moves towards using resources more sustainably.
Speaking today, Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Resource efficiency isn’t just about constraints and scarcity – it’s a vast array of opportunities for growth and jobs with less waste, a cleaner environment, and better, more sustainable choices for consumers. The scope of this year’s Green Week is a clear demonstration of the reach of environment policy – it really is fundamental to the way we choose to live our lives."
At the conference, public and private strategies that are promoting a shift towards lower carbon use and a more efficient use of resources will also be showcased.
Some of the key speakers at Green Week 2011 will be Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action; Prof Ernst von Weizsäcker, co-chair, UNEP’s International Resources Panel; Paul Holthus, executive director, World Ocean Council; Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary General, UNEP executive director.
One of the highlights of Green Week 2011 will be a visit to Brussels Zaventem Airport to look at Solar Impulse, the first aircraft designed to fly day and night without using fuel and propelled by solar energy alone. On 13 May last, Solar Impulse achieved its first international flight. Having set off from Payerne aerodrome in Switzerland, the solar-powered aircraft flew over France and Luxembourg before landing in Brussels at Zaventem Airport, with its flight covering 630km in 12 hours and 59 minutes.
Last year, Solar Impulse became the world’s first solar-powered plane to fly through the night, achieving the longest and highest-ever flight carried out by a solar plane.
Solar Impulse will be on display in Brussels from 23-29 May 2011.