Summary of the R20 Austria Conference 2014
"The R20 Conferences in Vienna and in Paris are important milestones on the way to European and global change. The actions which we set today will even the path to Paris 2015. Many successful low-carbon projects at the local level could be launched, which would demonstrate the great opportunities of a sustainable energy future. We have to mobilize the regions to initiate further actions - the more the better!"
- Andrä Rupprechter, Minister of Environment, Austria
Thanks to our partners, the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment & Water Management (BMLFUW) and the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund, as well as our Premium Business Partners, OMV AG, Philips Austria, REWE International AG, REXEL Austria and our Business Partners, VARTA and Hypo NOE, the conference was an exciting and enriching event for all attendees.
Over 350 representatives from regions, NGOs, businesses, governments, universities and the science sector, worked together in six different workshops about topics ranging from energy efficiency to smart cities, agriculture and food fupply, as well as energy model regions and storage technologies. There were 30 working groups lead by well-know experts for each topic. The groups then gathered detailed results about success factors, risks, framework conditions and future outlooks.
On the second day of the conference, Andrä Rupprechter, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment & Water Management; Ingmar Höbarth, CEO of Austrian Climate and Energy Fund; and Monika Langthaler, Director of R20 Austria & EU, gave speeches about how the energy transition can be successful. R20 Founder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sent a video message praising "action heroes" in the local energy transition, and also encouraged everybody to join their efforts. They all stressed the high importance of the bottom-up approach of regions collaborating with strong partners from the business and science sectors for a sustainable, low-carbon economy. Additionally, CEOs from different business sectors presented the results from the workshops of the previous day and discussed how to integrate new findings into sustainable strategies. At the session entitled "Road to Paris 2015 - The Central Role of Regions", best practice projects on energy transitions from Germany (Hamburg, Alheim) and Austria (Vienna, Upper Austria) were showcased.
Andrä Rupprechter closed the conference and brought all the results from the workshops to Paris that same day. There he met Arnold Schwarzenegger and Christophe Nuttall from R20, to talk about climate change and necessary steps towards COP 21 in 2015.
Monika Langthaler, Director of R20 Austria & EU, said: "At the R20 Conference in Vienna, renowned experts showcased solutions and success stories that work at the sub-national level. The experiences I had at the conferences in Vienna and in Paris confirmed my belief that we can make a difference and move toward a green and sustainable economy for the next generations."
After the conference, around 35 participants took the opportunity to visit an energy model region and travelled to Murau (Styria) for a 2 days excursion.