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Nicholas Stern signs up to the Change the Change International Conference on climate change, a remarkable event in 2019

The author of the “Stern Review” has been added to the list of top-level speakers, headed by Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Director of Greenpeace, and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Climate Leader at WWF. The International Conference, which will be held in San Sebastián between 6 and 8 March, was presented today at the National Congress on the Environment (CONAMA).

The National Congress on the Environment (CONAMA), the main biennial event related to sustainable development in Spain, was the venue to start the countdown to the International Climate Change Conference, which will be held under the name of Change the Change in San Sebastian between 6 and 8 March.

The Conference was presented in Madrid, in the presence of Hugo Morán, the state secretary for Environment at the Spanish Government’s Ministry for the Ecological Transition; Elena Moreno, the Deputy Minister for the Environment of the Basque Country (the main driver of Change the Change); José Ignacio Asensio, the Councillor for the Environment and Hydraulic Works at Gipuzkoa Provincial Council, and Ane Oyarbide, councillor for Environment at San Sebastian City Council. The Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, will open the sessions on 6 March, which will be followed by three days with a group of top-level speakers.

The event will gather together over 600 specialists with 50 of the top international experts on climate change. These include Nicholas Stern, the eminent British economist, who has joined the list of speakers of the ilk of Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Co-Director of Greenpeace International, and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Energy and Climate Leader at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF International).

Nicholas Stern is a British economist and academic known for being the author of the “Stern Review” on the economic impact of climate change and global working. This report was a historic milestone as it was the first commissioned by a government from an economist instead of from a climate expert. Its main conclusions stress that an investment equivalent to 1% of world GDP to mitigate the effects of climate change and, failing that, the world would be exposed to a recession of 20% of world GDP.

Nicholas Stern was Vice-President for Economic Development and Chief Economist of the World Bank from 2000 and 2003, and economic advisor to Gordon Brown’s Labour Government in the United Kingdom. Stern’s long CV includes his time as a professor at the University of Warwick and at the London School of Economics. He was Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

McDiarmid replaces Morgan

The confirmed speakers include Bunny McDiarmid, Executive Co-Director of Greenpeace International, who will attend instead of her colleague Jennifer Morgan, with whom she has shared the post since April 2016. McDiarmid, from New Zealand, has a 30-year track record as an environmental activist, when she began as a volunteer on the iconic Rainbow Warrior in 1984. She established an office in the Pacific to work on climate, forests and oceans and also coordinated international nuclear energy campaigns.

Another of the leading international figures among the speakers is Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the Climate and Energy leader of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF International), who was also Peru’s Minister for the Environment between 2011 and 2016. He was also President of the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense and has headed or belonged to numerous private and public organisations supporting environmental issues.

In addition, there will be top-tier speakers from the worlds of academia, meteorology, business and regional administration. They will showcase success stories and new business models, and will discuss the challenges facing society to combat the effects of climate change. The sessions will be structured into 8 thematic panels addressing the planet’s health, the role of the regions, urban environment, sustainability, energy transition, the economy, education and women’s leadership.

Furthermore, on each of the days, the thematic panels will be complemented with a “heroes and heroines of the planet” special session. These people are running innovative initiatives and projects for climate change action and awareness in different fields and at different points around the world.
The Conference is part of the Basque Country’s Climate Change Week, when a wide range of activities with something for everyone will be organised in March. The aim will be to call the general public to action.

The Basque Government at CONAMA

At CONAMA, apart from the presentation of the March Conference, the Basque Government is showcasing the main initiatives and strategies that it has implemented in the areas of the circular energy and climate change. During the Congress, the Government has a stand there, through Ihobe, in the exhibition area and shared with the Basque Environment Cluster – ACLIMA.

The event is being held at the Madrid Municipal Conference Centre and seeks to give impetus to creating alliances between governments, the private sector and civil society to drive the transition towards sustainability.