EU notebook: Highlights from our Dublin Climate Summit

We've also provided a recording for those who didn't get to listen live.

By Vish Gain

(Vish Gain is a journalist based in Dublin. He is a correspondent for AML Intelligence covering the financial crimes sector in Europe and beyond.)

DUBLIN (Callaway Climate Insights) — “He has taught us everything” is what Ireland’s Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said of John Kerry, referring to his role in establishing the Paris agreement that sets the standards for climate action in our world today.

“We need to collaborate with the new Biden administration to achieve our zero-carbon goals,” Ryan said in his opening remarks at Callaway Climate Insights’ Dublin Climate Summit on Tuesday.

The even featured Vice President of the European Commission and Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans, and was sponsored by EY and Ibec.

The weather may not have been great in Dublin (it rarely ever is at this time of the year) but it was a good day for climate action as some of Europe’s foremost climate and sustainability experts came together virtually to discuss pressing issues in the green space.

This stellar line-up included climate powerhouse Timmermans, champion of Irish business Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec, and sustainability expert Steve Varley of EY.

Here’s a quick recap of some of their most memorable observations.

Timmermans

“Farmers need to be convinced to go green because they will be the first and worst victims of climate change. Besides, we’re soon heading towards a 10 billion population in the world — and we will need food to feed them.”

“If the Brits compete with the EU’s green ambitions and want to win — let them! When it comes to climate action, we welcome competition because it means we’re both making progress.”

Danny McCoy

“Since we don’t have a global government, multilateralism is the next best thing — and we’re hoping Biden’s administration might bring that back.”

“Ireland is a frontier economy — our real strength is our intangible assets. A decade ago, oil and gas companies were the most valuable in the world. Today, the most valuable sectors are the ones that deal in intangible assets”

Steve Varley

“Companies need to be sustainable not just because it is the right thing to do — but because it gives us a competitive edge. Not just by protecting value, but by creating it.”

“The business of business is bigger than business.”

But perhaps the most memorable quote of the day is attributed to an unnamed Cork fisherman whom English musician Andrew Weatherall encountered while on a trip around the western shores of Ireland — where the island meets the Atlantic Ocean.

Timmermans, speaking of Europe’s need to be a climate leader despite accounting for only 8% of global emissions, excitedly quoted the Irish fisherman: “Fail we may, but sail we must.”

His words, one hopes, reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic.

Follow this link to watch the archived recording of the webinar, hosted by Callaway Climate Insights founder David Callaway; Stephen Rae, Callaway Climate Insights Europe bureau chief; and special guests Rachel Bronson, CEO of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists; Sarah Fay, managing director of Glasswing Ventures in Boston, and Marsha Vande Berg, member of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy Advisory Board and a Callaway Climate Insights columnist.