MONTREAL, March 20, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Hundreds of experts from North America and the European Union (EU) met today at the Palais des congrès de Montréal to discuss energy efficiency, green cities and clean energy at Going Green - Smart Choices for a Sustainable Future.
At this major event, organized by the EU alongside negotiations for the ambitious free-trade treaty between Canada and the EU, specialists shared ideas on the main challenges and business opportunities associated with the emergence of an "intelligent" economy, based on clean energy and sustainable growth. Among those attending the event were Canada's Environment Minister, Peter Kent, and renowned economist Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and best-selling author, who presented his theory on the "Third Industrial Revolution."
"Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create a powerful 'Third Industrial Revolution.' Imagine hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices and factories, and sharing it with each other in an 'energy Internet,' just like we now create and share information online. The five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses and millions of jobs, and usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children and engage in civic life," said Mr. Rifkin in his presentation.
The event also shed light on best practices in the EU and Canada for creating partnership opportunities between cities on the two continents. Representatives from Hamburg and Nantes presented green initiatives in their cities that led to their being chosen as European Green Capital in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Representatives from Vancouver and Montreal also presented their sustainable development action plans.
"In both Canada and the EU, there has been a growing understanding that smart, sustainable growth cannot just be achieved only at the local level, but also needs a regional, continental and global dimension to succeed. The research and innovation needed to meet these challenges requires a critical mass of expertise going beyond any one city or region. Canada and the EU regularly confer to share best practices beyond their respective boundaries," said Ambassador Matthias Brinkmann, head of the European Union Delegation in Canada.
This EU initiative is part of the Europe 2020 strategy, which targets a 20% cut in Europe's annual primary energy consumption by 2020. Measures have been set in motion to increase efficiency at all stages of the energy chain: generation, transformation, distribution and final consumption. Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources will be essential if CO2 targets are to be met by 2020 and beyond. An important message is that caring for the environment can be a source of economic growth, by encouraging innovative clean technologies and the development of new services such as eco-tourism.
"A smart economy must be based on a low carbon and climate resilient path. This is not a vision for the future only; it is a vision for right now," concluded Humberto Delgado Rosa, director for mainstreaming adaptation and low-carbon technology, DG Climate Action, European Commission.
SOURCE: European Union
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