In a public address at Harvard University, European Commissioner for Environment Stavros Dimas called on the forthcoming U.S. administration to “send a strong international signal” in support of international agreements to combat the catastrophic impact of global warming. The event, “European Leadership on Global Environmental Challenges,” was held on October 7, 2008 and was co-sponsored by the Harvard Kokkalis Program.
In his lecture, chaired by Harvard Professor of Environmental Policy John Holdren, Dimas outlined the European Union’s “ambitious environmental agenda” ― which includes the goal of a 20% reduction in energy consumption by 2020; the world's first and largest international emissions trading scheme; and targets for the increased use of sustainable and renewable energies.
Dimas also stressed the importance of international cooperation on issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and deforestation. While confident that both U.S. presidential candidates will enact strong environmental policies, he cautioned that the world looks to the U.S. to set an example and that, without American leadership, “it will be difficult to persuade countries like China and India to participate in an international agreement.”
The lecture was organized by Harvard’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and co-sponsored by the Kokkalis Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Tufts University’s Karamanlis Chair in Hellenic and Southeastern European Studies.
During his visit to Harvard, Commissioner Dimas also participated in a lunch with top scholars of environmental studies from Harvard and other universities, and was officially received by University Marshal Jacqueline O’Neill.