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Al Gore Celebrates Europe’s Climate Action Successes in Latest Live Broadcast

UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa spoke with Al Gore via video link during the 2016 edition of his annual telethon. Photo: @UNFCCC / Twitter
UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa spoke with Al Gore via video link during the 2016 edition of his annual telethon. Photo: @UNFCCC / Twitter

Al Gore’s latest climate action telethon put the spotlight on a number of European success stories during a day-long broadcast.

The 2016 edition of the 24 Hours of Climate Reality show, hosted by the former US vice president, concluded yesterday (6 December) and was carried by TV networks in over 75 countries and accessible online for hundreds of millions of viewers.

Ahead of the broadcast, Gore explained the show would aim to help make the Paris Agreement come to life by looking at “the elected officials, business leaders and activists that are making climate action a reality in countries around the world.”

In addition to live interviews with celebrities, musicians, thought leaders and environmental experts from a make-shift studio in New York’s Liberty State Park, the broadcast featured on-location segments about climate action projects around the world, including in a number of European countries.

Missed the broadcast? We’ve compiled some of the show’s European highlights!

1. Germany’s Energy Independent Village

In 1999, the town council of Wildspoldsreid in Germany voted to switch to renewable energy and become completely energy independent by 2020.

This video shows how today the town and its population of 2,600 produces seven times the energy it needs by using a combination of wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and biogas. The extra power is sold to the grid.”We used to produce milk. Now we mostly produce energy,” is how one farmer put it.

2. The People Behind Offshore Wind

“After launching the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century, the United Kingdom today has made reducing its reliance on coal a central part of its policies, aiming to eliminate coal energy generation by 2025,” the Climate Reality Project explains.

The UK has invested in renewable power sources like wind and has created the largest offshore wind energy market in the world, according to this video which puts the spotlight on the people involved in keeping a wind farm up and running.

3. Italy’s Clean Energy Valley

In 2015, Italy generated almost 30 per cent of its electricity with renewables. One reason is the success of regions like Primiero in northern Italy, this video points out. The segment explores a valley where towns have banded together to invest in wind and solar – and now produce eight to ten times their energy needs with renewables.

4. Europe’s Solarteurs

“Solarteur” Manfred Wolf says the sun is the only thing needed to solve the climate crisis, and explains how solateurs like him – engineers specialised in installing solar power systems – are helping to make it happen across Europe.

5. The French Farm That Can Power a Town

In the French Alps, the Beaufort dairy and cheese farm is using its waste to create electricity. This video introduces the people who make it work, and shows how the power plant can support a town of 15,000 people.

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is one of the world’s leading organisations dedicated to mobilising action on climate change. The organisation operates around the world through various branch offices focused on driving local, regional and global action for climate solutions.

On Monday, Gore – who like Hillary Clinton lost a presidential election despite getting most votes – met with incoming US president Donald Trump and one of his daughters to discuss climate change. Although Gore described the meeting as “very productive,” others stress the real estate baron has already appointed a large number of so-called climate sceptics to his transition team.

The EU and China, meanwhile, are seizing the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in the low carbon economy, with a major clean energy plan for the European Union launched last week and confirmation of a massive increase in green bonds issuance led by China and Europe.

Find out how you can get involved in Climate Action in Europe as a student or an entrepreneur.

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