Barak Obama, the 44th President of the USA was in Porto, on 6th July to share some thoughts on Climate Change, in the context of the first Climate Change Leadership Summit.
The panel of speakers included Mohan Munasinghe, joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and former Vice-Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate, Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO and Juan Verde, the President of the Advanced Leadership Foundation. The main focus was on Obama, "one man that has done more than just to provide inspiration" as stated by Juan Verde.
The overall idea of the first Climate Change Leadership Summit, in the context of the Porto Protocol is to foster a common and joint effort, spur the interchange of what information on climate change is already available between enterprises, communities and individuals and "the importance of creating leaders".
And because "this is not some distant problem in the future", Obama was in Porto to share some thoughts on Climate Change:
"A lot of things are taking place on the international scene, namely acceleration of globalisation, which lifted millions from poverty in places from India and China, and even Eastern Europe, with the end of Cold War. But, what technology has also done is creating a trend where politics see integration as a positive thing, and other trend that sees this as a negative thing. There is this tribal sense that in this new world we have to fight those who are not like us.
The UN still serve respect issues but powers are less cooperative than they were a decade ago. The Paris Accord - which was my priority - shows that it is still possible to put countries in the same agenda. Climate Change transcends boundaries. And these problems can only be solved when citizens from different countries see that we will not solve matters from ourselves. We have to work together."
Barak Obama also mentioned the fact that the US no longer support the Paris Accord - "My successor does not agree with me "- and highlighted that the facts speak for themselves, "sea levels rise, weather patterns change, and all this leads to conflicts, political, social and economic conflicts".
"When in office, my strategy was not to entirely rely on the government regulations regarding inflation, but rather sensitise the private sector to help launch a new green economy", stated Obama at the Conference in Porto.
"In 2008, there was a profound crisis; still, my agenda was to make sound investment on solar energy, bio fuels and we were able to create jobs and reduce the high emissions of greenhouse gases. To affirm this progress we realised that we needed to join forces with other nations. The EU already had this mission on their agenda and even the President of China understood that it was no longer sustainable to continue with the high pollution levels."
Despite some setbacks regarding the unites States agenda on Climate, Obama enhances the good news: "Many of these measures and regulations were so embedded in the American Economy and people are aware that it is possible to created jobs and to make money, betting on solar energy rather than on carbon, that there is no reason for this trend not to continue.
Many countries are recognising the importance of the Paris Accord and I am sure that the US will eventually engage. I believe that if we commit to the structure of the Paris Accord, in 10 or 15 years the climate change problem is in the right track. I want to state that collaboration also means different approaches; no matter what we do, temperatures will continue rising. It is like speeding our car towards the cliff, even if we break, it will take some time to stop the car. What this means is that there is a period of adaptation. Also very important is that the industries that are being affected by climate change speak up and make public their losses; the general public has an abstract view, a day-to-day basis of this issue. We need to share information on this problem.
There is a correlation between climate change and population migration, as it changed the demographic balance and the political power. We can say that the conflict in Syria arose from a climate change problem. And then, the internet shows there is a better life elsewhere and there is population concentration and there are no walls big enough to stop desperate people.
As President of the US, I would say I had a good view how power works and moves through societies. I realised that most of the problems we face - climate change, education, nuclear problems - for most of this things we have pretty good answers to solving the problems. But, in order to implement them, we have through human and political industries. It is not like we don't have the solution, but we have to educate the public opinion, to empower citizens to pressure politicians to implement these solutions.
The Media also have an important role to play. This is a task that every individual can take. The strategy is solving problems from the bottom-up. Politicians forget that the power came from the ground, from people.
I believe in science. Some people don't. The role of the traditional media is a big problem, particularly on Climate Change. If we see Fox News and read the New York Times we see two different Americas. The dissemination of propaganda, I haven't figure out a solution yet. We have to be more creative and try to narrow the wide gap between the political elite and the average citizen.
I see politics not based on getting power but based on a moral mission. I see that mission in many people all around the globe. It is my strong believe that if we engage those voices their instincts are good.
This new generation is more tolerant, likes to eat different types of food, and listens to music from different backgrounds, they have an instinct of working cross-borders. The problem is that they are not the leaders.
I say to these young people, engage and move to politics. We must empower young people. It is important to get people to listen. Engage a conversation.
These things are never easy, but democracy is hard, it is the worst form of govern except for all the other alternatives, as Churchill used to say."
The Porto Protocol is a call to action towards more than just "good intentions". As Taylor's put it "Climate Change is the greatest challenge the wine industry faces today. We are all placed to tackle this threat" and "concerted and urgent action is needed on the part of all industry players and of those who supply and work with them. It is a common problem, which requires a communal response".
This is a volunteer corporate and institutional movement whose fundamental goal is to create a more sustainable environmental policy. In line with Porto policy regarding sustainability, as Mayor Rui Moreira established for his mandate, the launch of this initiative took place at Coliseu Porto Ageas on 6 July 2018.
"This is not the end", Mayor Rui Moreira announced, at the Press Conference that followed the Summit. "The Porto Protocol second event is scheduled for March 2019", added Adrien Bridge, Taylor's CEO.
"We are establishing a network of contributors", President of the ACP (Porto Commercial Association) Nuno Botelho affirmed.