Event highlight

Hertie School hosts debate on the challenges of EU climate and security policy

Prof. Christian Flachsland sits on stage with panellists at the CIVICA Tours d'Europe lecture on securitising the Green Deal.
A full house in the Hertie School forum sits in the audience of the CIVICA "Securitising the Green Deal" panel discussion.

As part of the CIVICA Public Lecture Series "Tours d'Europe", experts discussed future of European Green Deal and impact of war in Ukraine on climate and energy.

How the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point for the European Union with regards to the energy market and tackling climate change was the topic of a panel organised by CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences on 2 May at the Hertie School. In particular, researchers and experts discussed the European Green Deal and the role sustainable energy sources can play in responding to the crisis in Ukraine.

Mark Hallerberg, Hertie School Dean of Research and Faculty and Professor of Public Management and Political Economy, gave the opening remarks. Roundtable participants were Geneviève Pons, Director General and Vice President, Europe Jacques Delors Centre; Jesse Scott, Director of International Programmes, Agora Energiewende; John Szabó, PhD researcher, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University; Christian Flachsland, Professor of Sustainability and Director of the Centre for Sustainability, Hertie School; and Mauro Petriccione, Director-General of DG CLIMA, European Commission. Sabrina Schulz, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Germany, moderated the discussion.

According to Geneviève Pons, the crisis in Ukraine can potentially influence a more radical shift towards renewable energy sources. "Solidarity will be the key in solving this crisis as quickly as possible," she said.

Jesse Scott noted the benefits and setbacks of the much-discussed embargo on Russian energy, outlining the importance of strengthening existing green infrastructure and reaching the renewable resource targets already set by the European Green Deal.

Continuing the discussion, John Szabó addressed why natural gas is a problematic energy source and how to limit Europe’s dependency on it. “The question is how to substitute or limit the natural gas in the mid to long term, with biomethane, and also gradually shifting and adapting to a consumption of hydrogen,” he said, adding his ideas for potential solutions. 

On the topic of Russian gas and oil, EU member states need to increase the pressure, said Christian Flachsland. “We should get our act together now in Germany and in Europe on reducing gas consumption, he reflected. “We need to be more creative and agile in terms of pushing this forward.”

Mauro Petriccione closed the event, raising the issue of crises as triggers for the acceleration of alternative solutions and stressing the importance of a careful transition.

Over 100 attendees were actively engaging in the discussion and posed questions both online and in the room.

A video recording of the conference is available here:

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