Climate Change and Climate Policy in Europe and the US

Chesapeake Bay near Washington, DC, United States

As part of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge, the Ecologic Institute organised a Transatlantic Media Dialogue to discuss climate policy in Europe and the U.S. with a focus on the upcoming Copenhagen climate summit. The exchange took place from 9-11 November 2009 at the Aspen Wye River Conference Center on Chesapeake Bay near Washington, DC. The dialogue brought together nearly 25 participants – German and US journalists as well as climate policy experts. The program was complemented by a field trip that addressed the impacts of sea level rise in the region.

The objective of the Media Dialogue was threefold. First, the Dialogue aimed at providing journalists with an update on the state of negotiations in the run-up to the Copenhagen summit. Discussions covered a range of relevant issues, including: climate debate, i.e. climate change and security; adaptation to climate change; an assessment of the economic effects of climate protection; and the concept of a “Green New Deal” (addressing the financial crisis with sustainable investment, green markets and innovation). Second, the participants exchanged views on the issues mentioned above, as well as legislative developments, the current public debate on climate change, and the role of the media in their respective countries. Finally, participants were briefed about the local impacts of sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay (with comparisons to similar ecosystems, such as the Baltic Sea). The conference location outside Washington, DC provided a fresh environment and helped stimulate fruitful conversations and exchange.

Creating a link to Denmark as the host of the upcoming climate summit, the programme started with a Danish perspective that also assessed the potential influence of German and US climate policy on the success of the summit. Short presentations on climate and security, and on opportunities for new markets, green jobs, and secure energy followed, providing a framework for a panel discussion at the end of the day.

One focus of discussionswas on the national climate and energy policies in Germany and the US, with emphasis on the role of regional climate initiatives emerging in the US, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). Also, existing areas of cooperation between decision makers on the local and regional levels between the US and Germany were highlighted.

Other panels and subsequent discussions focused on the state of science on climate change and the costs of inaction; opportunities to promote efforts towards building a low-carbon-economy; and the related challenges to foster green industries in an effort to restructure the economy.

The Media Dialogue was complemented by a field trip to the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center and other sites in the Chesapeake Bay showcasing the challenges caused by sea level rise in the region. For example, the group learned about shoreline impacts and related ecological problems associated with sea-level rise and erosion. Also, since the Chesapeake Bay is facing the same challenges as the Baltic Sea, a presentation of the German RADOST project (Regional Adaptation Strategies for the German Baltic Sea Coast) underscored shared concerns and prospects for cooperation.


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Chesapeake Bay near Washington, DC, United States
Project ID
Climate, Media Dialogue, expert networks, Climate Protection, Climate Policy, Energy Policy, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Emissions Trading, Adaptation, Visitors Programme, Transatlantic Relations, USA, Europe, Germany, Transatlantic, international

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