Federal Chancellor Kurz at the 2018 Austrian World Summit 

Vienna Hofburg becomes international centre for climate action

“We have a big responsibility when it comes to protecting the climate. Today, what counts is not just what is said, but what is actually done.” said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the start of the 2018 Austrian World Summit, an event hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger and President of Austria, Alexander van der Bellen, at the Vienna Hofburg. Kurz also stressed that there doesn’t necessarily need not be a conflict between the economy and climate protection. “They are both necessary. Society needs a strong, free economy that ensures prosperity and thereby lays the foundations for the welfare state.” But the Federal Chancellor added that this should not be at the expense of the climate and the environment: “After all, the greatest economic success cannot benefit us if we end up destroying our habitat.” The economy could, however, play an extremely positive role in protecting the climate as this is an area where many different players are working together to pursue the same objective, namely to achieve innovation. “Economic success can only be realised if it is sustainable. So, it does not take either growth or sustainability, but sustainable growth,” the Federal Chancellor said.

Sebastian Kurz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alexander van der Bellen und Antonio Guterres @BKA/Dragan Tatic

In view of the existential threat posed by climate change, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged everyone to combine their efforts in order to achieve even more ambitious climate protection goals. “We need an energy revolution,” he said. Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed for confidence, saying that many regional initiatives – whether in Austria or California, in China and France – have already paved the way. “We are on course for victory, we must build upon our strengths and continue to pursue our goals, exchange ideas and concepts globally, and win the fight for communication sovereignty. We choose the future, and we will win.” Austrian Federal President Alexander van der Bellen warned that there is a long road ahead and we must not get complacent. “There must be a change – that is easy to say, but it would be nothing short of another industrial revolution. Still, this is a change we can, and must, bring about.” The Federal President added that it will cost less to invest now than it will to repair the damage later – if, indeed, the damage will then be repairable at all. Every country has to take responsible. “Austria’s government has presented a climate action strategy that has the potential to set an example for Europe if it is implemented with confidence.” 

Sebastian Kurz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elisabeth Köstinger @BKA/Dragan Tatic

Over 1200 guests from all over the world, including Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, Vice Mayor of Beijing Sui Zhenjiang, UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, Germany’s former foreign minister Joschka Fischer, and solar aviation pioneer Bertrand Piccard accepted the invitation to the Climate Summit in Vienna. The R20 Regions of Climate Action initiative was founded in 2011 by Arnold Schwarzenegger with the support of the United Nations. Its aim is to use local and regional approaches to help achieve global goals concerning climate protection and the promotion of a green economy.

Speech of the Federal Chancellor at the 2018 Austrian World Summit  (PDF, 48 KB)

Link: Original in German: Bundeskanzler Kurz beim Austrian World Summit 2018