Climate change will determine the degree of success of current leaders

Mauro Petriccione opens the 2019-2020 academic year at Nyenrode

“We now collectively realize what scientists have been trying to tell us for years: the biggest and most radical cause of the changes in our climate is the greenhouse gas effect,” says Mauro Petriccione, Director General of CLIMA. This is the directorate that leads the European Commission's efforts to fight climate change within the European Union and beyond. Today Petriccione held the keynote speech titled “How does Europe cope – and sometimes lead – in an ever faster-changing world? The case of climate change” during the opening of the 2019-2020 academic year at Nyenrode Business Universiteit.

Miša Džoljić, Rector Magnificus of Nyenrode, opened the academic year by announcing Petriccione as keynote speaker. “Extensive studies show that global warming has never before been observed at this level, and that we are all the perpetrators. Although these studies are available for everyone to access and read, we as a business university are not in the position to discuss the matter from a scientific perspective. However, the climate crisis affects every aspect of our lives, and this also extends to business and education. That is why we asked Mauro Petriccione to deliver the keynote speech this year.”

Stopping climate change

Petriccione states that the priority is to prevent the earth from getting even warmer, and explains that it is important to keep climate change under control so that we can still deal with it: “We have the knowledge and resources to stop climate change at a level that we can manage and eventually reverse, even though that reversal won’t begin until the end of this century at the earliest.” Radical change is necessary, according to Petriccione: “The question is whether we have enough awareness of what must be done and the will to actually change things.”

He reaches out to the audience of listeners in the packed Pfizer room: “Today I would like to invite you all to reflect on climate change and on that change as a whole. You are starting today or continuing your academic curriculum to manage or expand your place in the world. I therefore invite you to develop the awareness that the world is changing beneath your feet.”

Acting with resolve

“Climate change will determine the success or failure of both the current generation of leaders and the next. It requires an adjustment to a world that, at best, will stop irreversibly deteriorating, but will not go back to ‘normal’ as it was a century ago.” Success is indeed possible, Petriccione says: “As long as we collectively have the intention to act intelligently and with resolve. No matter what happens, you have to manage the emerging world. No matter what you do, whether you’re going to run a business, work in a particular profession, teach, preach or become a government official. A transformative change is within our reach, and your generation can and must be part of it in order to achieve that change,” he advised those present.

In closing, the Rector Magnificus addressed staff, faculty members, students and other attendees regarding their social responsibility. “Each and every individual can exemplify stewardship as a core value of Nyenrode in their own way.”

An impression.