Transatlantic Climate Bridge Conference

The Transatlantic Climate Bridge (TCB) was initiated in 2008. As a network of various activities supported by Germany's Federal Foreign Office, Federal Ministry for the Environment and the foreign missions in North America, the TCB aims to stimulate and expand transatlantic exchange on climate and energy policy.

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To build and strengthen transatlantic alliances in the industrial sector, between subnational actors, civil society organisations and young change agents adelphi and the German Federal Foreign Office convened a three-day high-level conference. The virtual conference picked up the momentum built at the Transatlantic Climate Bridge Online Forum in March.

This year’s conference aimed to build a strengthened network of transatlantic cooperation showing new perspectives of climate policy transformation in terms of foreign trade, geostrategy as well as social policy. Participants presented approaches to transatlantic cooperation and discussed new initiatives

Read the conference's summary here.

 

Agenda

The conference was hosted by the German Embassy in Washington D.C. The events were held virtually over three days. Thematic panels opened at a high level on the first day and closed with a reflection session on the third day. 

OPENING EVENT | 22 June, 11:00 AM-12:15 PM EDT [17:00-18:15 CEST]

The opening session gave an overview of the prospects for transatlantic cooperation in climate policy. There were welcoming remarks by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and by Marc Garneau, Foreign Minister of Canada.

The welcoming remarks were followed by a moderated discussion. Topics reached from a foreign policy focus to a broader perspective including the business sector, sub-national cooperation and civil society.

Panellists:

  • Ambassador Emily Haber, German Embassy in Washington DC
  • Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, State of Wisconsin
  • Julie Cerqueira, Executive Director U.S. Climate Alliance

Moderator:

  • Justin Worland (Time Magazine)

WATCH RECORDING

BUSINESS DIALOGUE | 22 June, 12:30-2:00 PM EDT [18:30-20:00 CEST]

“Towards a Transatlantic Green Deal?” on 22 June 2021, co-convened with the Stiftung 2 Grad ,the We Mean Business Coalition and Ceres aimed at launching a discussion about what industry on both sides of the Atlantic now needs for the transition to climate neutrality: How will the EU Green Deal and the US Green Deal become a success story for innovation, competitiveness and jobs, for a just and sustainable tomorrow?

Ideas generated during the debate will form the basis for future transatlantic activities to be supported by the German government in its ambition to foster transatlantic climate cooperation.

Representatives from companies, business networks and associations, entrepreneurs as well as policy makers presented their ideas for a stronger transatlantic cooperation for supporting companies on the transition to climate neutrality.

The objective of the discussion is to address the following subjects and questions:

  • What do industry leaders now need from policymakers for making them frontrunners in the global transition to climate neutrality?
  • What are promising examples and entry points for sectoral transformation and what are specific industry contributions to ambitious 2030 climate change targets?
  • What are the coalitions we need to build and who are the partners and networks to support an ambitious and meaningful business dialogue on the transition to climate neutral industries?

Welcoming remarks:

  • Sabine Nallinger, Managing Director, Stiftung 2 °
  • Maria Mendiluce, Chief Executive Officer, We Mean Business

Panellists:

  • Marc Vanheukelen, EU Climate Diplomacy Ambassador
  • Tim Scharwath, Board Member, DHL 
  • Jon Morrish, Board Member, Heidelberg Cement
  • Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President & CEO, Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG)
  • Judith Judson, Head of U.S. Strategy, National Grid
  • Cynthia Williams, Global Director, Sustainability, Homologation and Compliance, Ford Motor Company

Moderator:

  • Justin Worland (Time Magazine)

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Co-Conveners:

Co-Conveners: Stiftung 2°, We Mean Business & Ceres

 

CITY LAB | 23 June, 12:30-2:00 PM EDT [18:30-20:00 PM CEST]

The “Transatlantic City Lab” on 23 June 2021 will work to launch a discussion on local climate efforts that can contribute to a green economic recovery. The U.S., Germany, and Canada have all recently announced heightened climate ambitions, all with the goal of ensuring a green economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities and towns on both sides of the Atlantic will be key to ensuring investments made create jobs, meet ambitious climate goals, and accelerate the recovery from COVID-19.

The "Transatlantic City Lab" session focused on specific strategies in the transportation and buildings sector that have the potential to capture the enormous social, economic, and health benefits of a green recovery. Specific environmental justice policies or programs in each of these sectors that can contribute to ensuring a just and green recovery were highlighted.

The objective of the discussion was to address the following subjects and questions:

  • How can local climate efforts contribute to a green economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What are promising strategies in the transportation and building sector to capture the benefits of a green recovery? 
  • How to design policies and programs to ensure a just and green recovery?

Panellists:

  • Vera Rodenhoff, Head of Division, International Cooperation on Environment, Energy and Cities, Cooperation with OECD, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety 
  • Lia Cairone, Deputy Director for North America, C40
  • Alysson Blackwelder, Project Manager, Advocacy and Policy U.S. Green Building Council
  • Nadine Melcher, Department Manager, Canadian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Alexandra Hunger, Project Manager, Cities Program, Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft

Moderator:

  • Sarah Duffy, Government Affairs U.S. and Canada at the Climate Group

 

WATCH RECORDING

NEXT GENERATION FUTURISTS | 24 June, 10:30 AM-12:15 PM EDT [16:30-18:15 CEST]

The “Next Generation Futurists Forum” on 24 June 2021, co-convened with the Heinrich Böll Foundation's North America Office, aimed at launching a discussion about new approaches to transatlantic youth and exchange networks, which enable young future agents to jointly develop visions for a just transition and sustainable tomorrow.

Ideas generated during the debate will form the basis for future transatlantic activities to be supported by the German government in its ambition to foster transatlantic climate cooperation.

Representatives from cultural organisations, foundations, scholarship programmes, social movements and youth networks presented their ideas for a stronger transatlantic youth cooperation.

The objective of the discussion was to address the following subjects and questions:

  • How do next generation futurists conceptualize climate policy?
  • How could these ideas be promoted with regard to transatlantic youth cooperation?
  • What are the coalitions we need to build and who are the partners and networks to support the “next generation of futurists”?

Panellists:

  • Meredith Adler, Executive Director, Student Energy
  • Ana F. González Guerrero, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Youth Climate Lab
  • Hadeel Hamoud, Student, President of Juhood Magazine, Duke University
  • Andrea Flores, Advocacy Organizer, MOVE Texas
  • Nora Loehle, Program Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation, Washington, DC office

Comments by:

  • Katrin Lammers, Fellow, Heinrich Böll Foundation
  • Christian Hauenstein, Fellow, Heinrich Böll Foundation

Moderator:

  • Alexander Carius, adelphi (Germany)

WATCH RECORDING

 

Co-Convener:

Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC

CLOSING EVENT | 24 June, 12:30-2:00 PM EDT [18:30-20:00 CEST]

The closing session gave an overview of the highlights from the three thematic panels and look into practicable possibilities to realise ideas for transatlantic cooperation in climate policy. It aims at discussing implementation potentials on a transatlantic level for all three sectors: industrial, sub-national and civil society.

Facilitator:

  • Hinrich Thölken, Commissioner for Energy and Climate Foreign Policy and Digital Transformation, German Federal Foreign Office

Welcoming remark & reflections by:

  • Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Presentations of observations from the thematic panels by:

  • Observer Business Dialog: Sophie Punte, We Mean Business
  • Observer Cities Lab: Sarah Duffy, Climate Group
  • Observer Next Generation Futurists: Alexander Carius, adelphi

Challengers:

  • Nigel Purvis, Founding President and CEO, Climate Advisers
  • Aaron Cosbey, Senior Associate, International Institute for Sustainable Development, IISD

 

WATCH RECORDING

Background

Under President Biden, the United States has re-entered international climate policy and has since set the political pace. Climate protection is the guiding principle of the Biden administration. Through the Climate Leaders Summit on April 22, the U.S. re-staked its claim to climate policy leadership to forge new alliances and momentum while the German national climate protection targets for 2030 announced on April 22 are ambitious and require cooperation at all political levels and sectors.

In the fall of 2020, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced a relaunch of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge, which not only starts at the government level but also involves states, cities, parliamentarians, businesses and academia. In light of the recent ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court on the Federal Climate Change Act (Klimaschutzgesetz), the German government is even more ambitious regarding climate policy.

Canada is a trusted partner for both, the US and Europe and has recently established a new bilateral partnership with the US which has the acceleration of Canada’s climate ambitions front and center. Germany and Canada have long cooperated on energy and climate change issues and signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the establishment of an energy partnership in March 2021.

The three-day conference presented approaches to transatlantic cooperation and discussed new initiatives. It featured a high-level block of events to highlight the importance of transatlantic cooperation and identify innovative formats for an ambitious transatlantic climate policy. 

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