Financial Crisis and Climate Policy – A Science-Policy Debate

ECF Annual Conference 2009
Venice, April 4, 2009

“Europe must lead the world into a new, or maybe one should say, post-industrial revolution, the development of a low-carbon economy.” This is the perspective offered by EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso when the EU declared its ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy use, and improving energy efficiency. In summer 2007, this step enabled the G-8 summit of Heiligendamm to declare the aim to halve global CO2 emissions by 2050, and at the end of the year, it kept the momentum in the global climate policy process at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.

A year later, however, the biggest financial crisis since 1929 hit the world. That crisis made painfully clear how unsustainable the financial boom of the past decades had been. But the perspective of sustainable development has been largely absent in the haphazard way different European nations have tried to counter a global financial crisis that will shape the 21st century.

The possibility of this crisis had not been anticipated by the sophisticated computer models run by major central banks and leading institutions of economic research. And the scientists working on the risks of climate change and the options for climate policy had not taken such a possibility in consideration either. It looks like both scientists and policy-makers have some homework to do.

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and the European Climate Forum organize a science-policy debate to identify the tasks that need to be tackled and the means needed to do so. Four distinguished panelists will look at the problem from four different perspectives: climate research, economic research, business, and the study of complex systems. Before that background, researchers and stakeholders from a variety of fields are invited to engage in an open discussion. Main findings of the debate will be fed into the EU conference “Sustainable Development: A Challenge for European Research” that will take place on May 26-28 in Brussels.

Additional Information:


  • Welcome
    Prof. Klaus Hasselmann, Max Planck Institute of Meteorology
    Hamburg, German

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  • A Global Challenge
    Prof. Antonio Navarra, Euro-Mediteranean Centre for Climate Change (CMCC)
    Bologna, Italy

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  • Implications of the financial crisis for climate policy
    Prof. Carlo Carraro, Research Director of FEEM, University of Venice, CMCC
    Venice, Italy

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  • What Lessons from Climate Policy for the Financial Crisis?
    Prof. Peter Hoeppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Centre,
    Munich, Germany

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  • The ‘Diabolical Problem’ – Climate Policy, Global Change and the Global Financial Crisis
    Dr. John Finnigan, Director of the CSIRO Centre for Complex Systems Science,
    Canberra, Australia

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