Web Summit 2017’s Hard Focus On Climate Change

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Last week, over 60,000 people from 170 countries attended the Web Summit – a major annual tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The week was fiercely charged with an energy of change, where over 2,600 of the world’s leading media came to share their stories. Many of the leading topics themes from this week’s event were not just advances in technology, but about climate change and sustainability, and how tech is being used to solve our global problems.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres opened the Summit, speaking about climate change, which he described as a defining threat of our times. However, Guterres believes there is hope through the development of new technologies, particularly green technologies, which are a force for good. He stated that green business is good business; at the same time, you can make money and do good. He said, “Science is on our side. I am a true believer that this fourth Industrial Revolution can be the answer to the main questions that we are putting to ourselves today, facing the enormous difficulties that we are still facing in the different aspects of social inequality, of the deterioration of the environment and other threats to our collective life.” 

One of the main parts of the Summit was something called “Planet: tech” which brought together the world’s most innovative startups, business giants, influencers and controversial voices from the fields of sustainability, green and environmental tech, energy efficiency and clean tech. Here you found The European Space Agency (ESA), Portugal which is harnessing space technology to help start-ups create sustainable business solutions, which reinforced Guterres opening remarks of positive “green business.”

ESA Portugal is supporting a wide range of green business initiatives such as D-Orbit, which is helping to accurately and precisely forecast ground weather predictions, to improve agriculture and transportation companies. While SPACELAYER, is using space technology to improve air pollution in urban areas. The lack of good air quality is the top environmental cause of premature death, which impacts a nation’s productivity and health. We are often breathing air that does not meet national standards, which causes - asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer.

The week ended with closing speaker Al Gore. He appealed for action, responsibility and most of all, for hope. He said, “Our world is in the early stages of a sustainability revolution" and explained he was not speaking to convince us about the fact that climate change was happening, but that he was recruiting us to be part of the solution to climate change and that we are all capable of playing a major role in reversing climate change. From Lisbon, Al Gore flew on to Bonn to be participate at the UN Climate Change Conference —COP23—entitled, ‘Maintaining US Engagement in International Climate Finance’ which was hosted by Center for American Progress, World Resources Institute, CDP & Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.

Photo Credit: Web Summit 2017