Bilkent IR Talks, Fall 2021- 1

H.E. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut

"The EU Green Deal and Climate Action"
On Thursday, October 15, students filled the C Block auditorium to listen to the first speaker of the academic year in the Bilkent International Relations department’s speaker series, “IR Talks.” Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, EU ambassador and head of the European Union delegation to Turkey, spoke about the European Green Deal and the role Turkey, as well as the current generation of students, must play in this deal to avoid global climate disaster.

Ambassador Meyer-Landrut explained how elements of the deal, such as its emissions trading system, work to increase the cost to industry of using CO2 and therefore incentivize businesses to work toward being carbon neutral. He specifically discussed how Turkey, though not an EU member state, remains an important actor in the deal because of the many value chains between the EU market and Turkey. As for the investment of EU funds via loans in clean energy projects and research, the ambassador stated that sustainability and scope are key factors in finding the right projects for the deal to support. After using the initial loan, these projects should ideally attract market investors through their innovations.

Addressing those who criticize the deal as being costly, requiring much public and private investment, Ambassador Meyer-Landrut did not refute these claims but instead noted that the cost of the alternative, i.e., not pursuing the deal’s goals, would be much greater.

In answering questions from students and faculty members, he observed that while governments must pass policies that support energy innovation, ultimately it is up to private citizens to use their creativity and bring those innovations to the table. Indeed, Ambassador Meyer-Landrut made sure in his talk and in his responses to questions that the urgency of the climate change issue was not lost on his audience. As students applauded at the talk’s conclusion, he declared, “We’re counting on you.”

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