The College of Public Policy (CPP) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the State of Qatar and the State of Kuwait, held a virtual expert panel discussion titled ‘Towards climate neutrality: How is the EU driving global action?’ to highlight the EU’s measures and best practices to mitigate climate change.
Held ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) that is taking place from October 31 to November 12 in partnership with Italy, the event aimed to raise awareness about the devastating effect of climate change and showcase the EU Green Deal, which is Europe’s roadmap to rebuilding a healthy planet for all.
The EU aims for Europe to become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050 and is leading climate action globally. In summer 2020, the EU introduced the ‘Fit for 55’ Package that aims to put the EU on course to meet its ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. The EU has also been working to launch an ‘international methane initiative’ to reduce methane emissions as a short-term contribution to climate action.
The joint expert panel discussion, comprising Mr. Cyril Loisel, an expert at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Climate Action; Dr. Andreas Rechkemmer, senior professor, CPP, HBKU; Dr. Damilola S. Olawuyi, associate professor, College of Law, HBKU; and Dr. Leslie A. Pal, moderator and the founding dean of CPP, HBKU, brought together students, academics, the HBKU community, environmental organizations, and the public at large.
Speaking at the opening of the panel discussion, Dr. Pal said: “The College of Public Policy is delighted and honored to partner with the EU Delegation for Qatar on one of the major issues of our time, not just of course for Qatar, but the region and the world. It’s no secret that many countries are lagging in their Paris commitments. We need both models and leadership going forward, and the EU’s goal for 2050 provides both. And I’m particularly glad that we have this chance to engage our students, not just in our College, but throughout HBKU and Education City, in learning about both the issues, as well as the design of far-sighted and innovative solutions.”
HE Dr. Cristian Tudor, EU Ambassador to Kuwait and Qatar, said: “Finding solutions to the climate emergency is the greatest challenge of our time. The EU is paving the way to reach climate neutrality in 2050 and the European Deal is our plan to make our economies more sustainable, create new opportunities for innovation, investment, jobs and improve our health and well-being.”
He further added: “Tackling climate change is also high on Qatar’s national agenda and the EU is working with partners here in Qatar and in the wider Gulf region to boost global climate action, invest in renewable energy and the green economy, advancing research and innovation for clean technologies, protecting biodiversity and increasing resilience.”
In his comments, Mr. Loisel noted the key components of the EU Green Deal, exploring some of the policy priorities and how they can be implemented to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change.
The virtual panel discussion was held on October 5, 2021 on the HBKU campus. Participants engaged in a lively Questions-and-Answers session, discussing some of the most pressing issues of our time and opportunities to strengthen EU-Qatar cooperation in the area of environmental protection and climate action.