The occasion: OpenAIRE was present at the "Climate Change Symposium: Threats, Challenges, Solutions for Greece" held at the American College of Greece, DEREE on Wednesday 3rd April 2019. The Symposium was comprised of key environmental organisations and experts presentations and ended with a series of parallel game sessions as well as a mini-concert.
Keynote speakers: Dr Anastasia Misseyanni, associate professor, head of department of science and mathematics, DEREE welcomed everyone to the event and informed about the Deree Environmental Studies Program, an interdisciplinary program of ecological, social, economic and political value. Then, prof. Dr. Phoebe Koundouri, AUEB, Director of Climate KIC Greece and co-chair of the UN SDSN in Greece, thoroughly explained the goals of the two initiatives (UN-SDSN and Climate KIC) focusing on the issues of natural resources overuse and the lack of valuation studies to stress the need of research and innovation driven policy and market solutions in climate change.
Keynote speaker, Yannis Stournaras, Governor, Bank of Greece highlighted the benefits of moving to circular economies, where the value is maintained as long as possible and hence, the waste is minimal. He also addressed financial aspects of climate change risks to show how the banking sector could accommodate demands in the areas of Agriculture, Tourism and water efficiency in Greece.
The following keynote presentation by Socrates Famellos, Alternate Minister for Energy and Environment, put climate change in the political agendas and underlined the necessity for a new adaptation model. This model could include: energy efficiency buildings, use of secondary fuel, new spatial planning about Renewable Energy Sources (RES), electromobility and new financial tools.
Presentations and discussions: The main presentations started with Prof. Dimitris Lalas, former Director of the National Observatory of Athens and expert in energy-climate-environment-economics nexus, who stated the value of science based approaches to climate change risk estimates that will combat uncertainty by monitoring/observing the evolution of different case scenarios set. Prof. Manolis Pleionis, current Director and President of the board of directors of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), complemented prof. Lalas presentation by showcasing a number of NOA platforms (METEO, BEYOND, PANGEA etc) developed in correspondence to the intensity and frequency of disasters related to climate change. Their goal is to provide real-time reports and assessments on potential risks such as forest fire.
Following presenter was Nikos Charalambides, Executive Director of Greenpeace Greece, who focused on the IPCC 2018 results which he compared with past evidence. In order to limit global warming, he emphasised on the need for structural changes in economies and for redirection of the investments to green alternatives.
In response to the global warming challenges, Dr. Michael T. Valahas, Director, Centre of Excellence for sustainability, Office of public affairs, the American College of Greece, informed about environmental research conducted in DEREE and the citizen science projects that they initiated so as to bring students closer to the environment and strengthen understanding of climate change issues.
Finally, Prof. Andreas Papandreou, Professor of Environmental Economics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and co-chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in his presentation addressed three main questions:
1. Why does the economy fail to protect our climate?
2. What level of climate change should we aim for?
3. Which are the policy tools we need to achieve our climate change goals?
Prof. Andreas Papandreou indicated the importance of public policy in driving change and achieving sustainability, stating among other things that a carbon tax alone cannot fulfill its purpose if not followed by reallocation of revenues or a new green deal.
After the presentations, discussions with the audience concentrated on how to inspire change through actions both to citizens but also to policymakers. One of the key issues is how these environmental problems are communicated and what are the incentives for people to follow. It should be mentioned that in spreading awareness, perspectives vary and what someone receives as fact others may see it as fear, for example.
The parallel game session: The Climate Change Symposium held a parallel game session at the end of the presentations. Participants had the opportunity to enhance their understanding of climate change impacts, to identify levels of awareness and to assist the process of formulating relevant solutions. The games were: 'SDGs, Climate and Open Science', an interactive quiz as an easier way to learn new concepts, 'Debating Tennis', a game in which players debate and argue in favour or against motions/statements related to climate change and 'Stabilization Wedges Game', a team-based exercise (a Board Game) that teaches players about the scale of the greenhouse gas problem.
Athena Research Center facilitated the development and run the 'SDGs, Climate and Open Science' game to showcase the intersections of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change with Open Science. The questions posed were relevant to the 17 SDGs, the Climate KIC activities, Open Science definition and value of open practices in the economy and the society and the OpenAIRE network as a pillar of Open Science in Europe.
The mini concert: a Music Performance by Deree students of Music Jazz and Popular Music Ensemble.