Climate Leadership across Europe: A journey with the Remarkable Climate Leaders

The REMARKABLE Webinar unveiled the essence of climate leadership and the potency of community-driven action, igniting a transformative journey towards climate neutrality across Europe.

Climate Leadership across Europe: A journey with the Remarkable Climate Leaders

More than 120 participants joined The REMARKABLE Webinar: Building Climate Leadership Across Europe on 13 March 2024. The webinar commenced with Seamus Hoyne’s introduction: “The purpose of today is really to give you a taste and an insight into the activities that have been ongoing under the Remarkable Climate Leaders Project.”

Tadhg O’Briain, Deputy Head of Unit at Directorate-General for Energy, brought urgency to the conversation, noting “fatigue with the climate challenge.” Tadhg emphasized the need for a just transition, stating, “We must ensure fairness in process and outcomes,” striking a chord with participants.

Ethnography and Community-Centered Approach

Domen Bancic, University of Ljubljana, brought the topic of ethnography, adding a research-based layer to the webinar. “People are at the center of whatever we try to achieve,” Domen passionately asserted, urging leaders to immerse themselves in their communities.

Throughout the webinar, speakers echoed the importance of community-driven action in combating climate change. “There are many leaders doing great work, but they’ve been hidden because they’re just doing it,” Seamus emphasized, shedding light on the grassroots efforts driving change.

Community-driven Actions across Europe

The webinar took a journey through various European regions, starting with Slovenia and Croatia, showcasing efforts towards climate leadership.

Vlasta Krmelj, Podravje Regional Energy and Climate Agency, Slovenia, shared her perspective as both a director and a mayor, highlighting the challenges of being at the forefront of climate action. She emphasized the importance of involving people and communities, stating, “People are leaders somehow, just they have a perspective a little bit different.” Her agency’s one-stop-shop service for climate adaptation issues demonstrated a proactive approach towards empowering municipalities with knowledge and support.

Miljenko Sedlar, North-West Croatia Regional Energy and Climate Agency, echoed the sentiment, stressing the crucial role of local decision-makers in addressing climate change. He emphasized the need for capacity building and mainstreaming climate issues into daily processes to avoid creating more silos. Miljenko’s insights into identifying climate leaders highlighted the importance of innovation, communication, and adaptability in driving change. He aptly summarized, “Climate leadership is based on trust… and the ability to rethink, reevaluate, and redesign the entire process.”

Catherine Premat, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energy Environment Agency, emphasized the importance of engaging with both current and emerging leaders, fostering networks, and sharing best practices. She highlighted the success of the “Elected to Act” initiative, empowering elected representatives at both national and regional levels.

Margarita Puente, ESCAN, Spain, shared similar experiences, highlighting the interest and gratitude of leaders in understanding and achieving climate neutrality. She emphasized the role of remarkable project activities in supporting local policies and plans, fostering collaboration, and providing advice and training.

Lisa Vaughan, Tipperary Energy Agency, Ireland, emphasized the project’s role in helping leaders develop the necessary skills and confidence to engage with technical issues and communicate effectively with their communities. She highlighted the importance of networking and learning from peers across Europe, as well as the project’s alignment with national and regional policy agendas.

Origins of the REMARKABLE Climate Leaders

The webinar took an intriguing turn as Seamus revealed the origins of the Remarkable Climate Leaders project—born over a casual cup of coffee at a ManagEnergy masterclass. He attributed the inception to Isabella Katsimenis, reminiscing how their conversation during the masterclass sparked the idea for a proposal centered around climate leadership. “You can blame Isabella for you all being here,” Seamus quipped, adding a touch of humor to the narrative.

Isabella Katsimenis, Energikontor Norr, shared her experiences from the Swedish context, emphasizing the role of local leadership in driving the energy transition. “At the heart of everything was this leadership,” she said, echoing the sentiment of courage and strength as indispensable traits for leaders in today’s fast-paced climate action landscape. “We need these decisions to come in quick so that we can do what is needed to make the energy transition happen,” Isabella remarked, her words ringing with urgency and determination. She elaborated on the project’s focus on nurturing emerging leaders, highlighting the importance of providing them with support and the right data to make informed decisions.

Local and Regional Energy Agencies – Facilitators of Change

Seamus emphasized the crucial role of local and regional energy agencies in providing leaders with robust information and facilitating stakeholder engagement. “Trust and robust information go hand in hand,” he noted, underlining the need for reliable data to drive effective decision-making.

Diana Prsancova, FEDARENE, invited the participants to continue supporting the project and listen to the REMARKABLE Climate Leaders Podcast Season 2.

“With a wealth of insights and a vibrant community of climate leaders,” Seamus concluded, “the Remarkable Climate Leaders project continues to drive meaningful action towards climate neutrality across Europe.”

Watch the recording:

REMARKABLE Climate Leaders will build new leadership capacity across Europe through a Climate Leadership Programme designed with and for climate leaders. Through a people-centred approach, Regional Energy Agencies will support leaders of public authorities and communities in implementing transformational roadmaps and innovative solutions to achieve climate neutrality.

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