The role of think tanks in a world of transitions and turbulences was the overarching topic of the 2019 Global Think Tank Summit in Rio de Janeiro. One of the prominent topics discussed was the climate crisis. In this context, an international panel chaired by Dr. Camilla Bausch examined new policies, paradigms and public engagement strategies around the world.
Over the past decades, climate change has moved from a niche topic to a subject of widespread global concern. Despite progress and breakthroughs in technologies (e.g. renewable energies) and at the political level (e.g. Paris Agreement) greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. More ambitious policies and better solutions are needed to reach to goals of the Paris Agreement. Considering the need for fundamental societal transformation, think tanks will need to play their part in defining adequate ambition levels, developing options for policy makers, guarding the implementation of measures, and critically monitoring and evaluating the results.
The experts on the climate panel at the summit presented different approaches and experiences from all over the world, more specifically from Europe, China, Japan and South America. The participants presented how climate change is already visibly affecting their regions and countries. Dr. Camilla Bausch highlighted forestry and forest management as well as viticulture and wine growing as cases showing concrete impacts of climate change. She then presented examples of participatory approaches to policy making in Germany, highlighting the "Coal Commission". Highlighting public engagement and pressure, she explored the dynamics within and created by the Fridays for Future movement in Germany. She explained the features and political dynamics with respect to climate laws throughout Europe and explored the new dynamics at EU level with a view to the European Green Deal in particular.
The Summit took place under Chatham House Rule.
The annual Global Think Tank Summit is organized by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania. The 2019 Summit was conducted in cooperation with the Brasilian Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV). It brought together more than 150 leading representatives of think tanks from all continents. The three-day event included discussions about geopolitics, democracy, digitization, artificial intelligence, food and water security, diversity and innovation, trade, and strategic communications.