The European Union has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gases emission by 2050 – an ambitious goal, but one intended to catalyse, mobilise and perhaps even to revitalise Europe as the centre of the global fight against climate change in the post-industrial era.

The effort will need to be deep – and transversal. With a series of initiatives, the Lisbon Council is looking to build better roadmaps, to develop stronger incentives and to raise the environmental skills and climate-knowledge level of the European population. These are not meant to be one-off initiatives or discussion fora. They are intended to develop and deliver structural change across the board; we have the value and we hold them deeply. But how can we use our deep knowledge to truly deliver? And how will we stay true to the path when the difficult decisions arise?

Early initiatives will be focused on education and data – not simply as a way of spreading the values of sustainability but also as a way of upgrading skills and improving governance.