Closing session: the state of the climate and why we should act now

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With climate change having far-reaching effects inside and outside the Union, the urgency to act now for creating a better tomorrow is imperative – it concerns all of us, and everyone can take action for the climate. This closing session was an opportunity to summarise the topics discussed during the previous 16 sessions part of the Summer School, reflecting on the experiences and lessons we have learned to inform future climate action.

Background information

This event is part of the CONNECT University Summer School 2021 on Digital for our Planet that aims to present cutting-edge innovations addressing how can digital technologies be harnessed to tackle climate change, both in terms of a greener digital system, as well as their role in helping reducing carbon emissions across industries. Check this blogpost for the full programme and more information. 

Closing speech: the state of the climate and why we should act now

Moderator and introductory remarks: Ilias Iakovidis, Adviser for Digital Aspects of Green Transformation, European Commission, DG CONNECT

Ilias works on EU wide measures and initiatives that aim to improve the energy and material efficiency of ICT, e.g., making datacentres climate neutral and digital devices more circular. He is focused on maximising the benefits of green digital transformation for environment/climate, society and economy. Ilias is working on digitalisation for circular economy (e.g. digital product passport) and on the European Green Digital Coalition. He is fostering cooperation of relevant stakeholders to develop consistent and transparent methods to estimate the net impact of digital solutions on environment/climate, and, green digital transformation in sectors such as energy, transport, construction, agriculture and others. Before 2017, Ilias was working for over 20 years on eHealth and ICT for active and healthy ageing. 

  • Luis Neves, Global CEO of GeSI

Luis Neves is CEO of the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) since 2017. Prior to that, from 2008-2017, Luis held the position of GeSI Chairman. Under Luis' leadership, GeSI has become a globally recognized “thought industry leader” organisation in the field of ICT- sustainability with strong focus on the enabling role and positive contribution of digital technologies to climate protection.

Before GeSI, Luis worked at Deutsche Telekom for over 15 years holding positions such as Head of Sustainable Development and Environment, VP of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability and Climate Protection Officer. Luis has also held positions and played relevant roles at European and international levels in organisations, such as the UN Global Compact Lead Group, Econsense -the German Sustainability Association, World Resources Forum Association and UNFCCC Momentum for Change Initiative.

Luis was born in Portugal and obtained a degree in History from the University of Lisbon.

  • Žiga Turk, Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Žiga Turk is a Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He holds degrees in engineering and computer science. As academic he studies design communication, internet science and scenarios of future global developments, particularly the role of technology and innovation. He is an internationally recognized author, public speaker and lecturer on these subjects. Dr Turk was Minister for Growth as well as Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports in the Government of Slovenia and Secretary General of the Felipe Gonzalez’s Reflection Group on the Future of Europe. He is a member of the Academic Council of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies.