Across Europe there are abundant examples of intelligent, innovative climate solutions that reduce CO2 pollution while also improving people's quality of life. For example, Stockholm's central rail station converts the body heat of commuters into heat for a nearby office building, reducing not only emissions but also the building's energy bill by 20-25%. In Denmark, the Gedved school in Horsens saves €30,000 a year on energy thanks to solar power. The money saved is spent on improving education.
Such "win-win" solutions – where saving money, time and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand – are at the centre of the communication campaign launched by Commissioner Hedegaard at London's City Hall.
"We have a choice: We can ACT on our knowledge about climate change. Or we can sit idly by and watch as things get worse. Both options come with a price tag. So why not create a world we like, with a climate we like - while we still have time? With this campaign we want to focus the debate on the solutions and find out what is holding us back from applying them," said Connie Hedegaard.
Centred on a website which will soon be available in all 23 EU languages, the campaign is designed as a platform for participation where individuals, businesses and local groups will be able to upload, promote and discuss their low-carbon solutions and take part in a pan-European contest to find the best and most original one.
Partnerships with like-minded organisations are a central part of the campaign. More than 70 organisations are already confirmed campaign partners, including business associations, universities, non-governmental organisations and government institutions. The intention is to enrol more partners as the campaign evolves.
At the launch event "Visions for a world you like", campaign partners and citizens have joined Commissioner Hedegaard, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey, Spanish State Secretary for the Environment Federico Ramos de Armas and other speakers to kick off the debate. The discussions are being streamed live on the campaign's Facebook page and contributions can be made on Twitter.
More events will follow in a number of Member States, including Bulgaria, Italy, Poland and Portugal, in the course of 2012-2013.