On 24 September leading voices from European Union and United States civil society converged on the Square in Brussels to share ideas and experiences to move the transatlantic energy transition forward in pursuit of a clean, climate-friendly energy future. Presentations, videos and photos are available on the conference website.
The conference was hosted by the Energy Future Exchange (EFEX) Program, a joint initiative of ACEEE, the Ecologic Institute in Washington DC, and the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, and was made possible through the financial support of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States through its transatlantic civil society dialogue grant program. The two-year EFEX program has included nearly two dozen events and conversations on both sides of the Atlantic, from Denver to Edinburgh, Rotterdam to Houston.
During the EFEX 2019 Brussels conference, innovative approaches from the private sector, NGOs, community organizations, research institutes, and the creative arts were showcased to address the environmental and sustainability challenges of energy systems.
Moderated by Monika Zimmermann, a leading figure in international sustainability cooperation and former Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI, the conference was divided into three successive segments: Discover, Engage, and Act.
The DISCOVER block featured two inspiring perspectives on questions of energy consumption and generation. First, a keynote address from Jan Rosenow of the Regulatory Assistance Project spoke to the potential of energy efficiency to achieve broader goals in the energy transition. Second, the premiere of a new documentary film from Think Film Impact Production, The Future is Shit / The New Black Gold, sparked new thinking regarding biomass and waste-to-energy possibilities, highlighting in particular efforts from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the work of a grassroots movement in Chicago.
These presentations were followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Carolyn Snell from the University of York and Dries Acke, Director for the Energy Systems Initiative at the European Climate Foundation, to discuss socio-political and economic considerations.
The second block, ENGAGE, provided a stage for innovative initiatives from civil society to exhibit new solutions and approaches to the climate crisis. Exhibitors from the US and EU demonstrated and discussed their approaches to addressing the challenges of the energy transition, including educators, SMEs, community organizations, start-ups, and NGOs. Exhibitor tables provided a chance for presenters to connect with conference attendees, and on-stage interviews offered a platform to introduce new ideas to the conversation.
The final segment, ACT, served as not only a call to action but also dove into questions of the role of finance in realizing our goals, followed by inspiring closing words in support of the continued strengthening of transatlantic ties to build a sustainable future.
More information about the EFEX project can be found at www.energyfuturex.org.
EFEX is a two-year endeavor financed in large part through the European Union Delegation to the United States Transatlantic Civil Society Dialogues program.