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Vienna set to host 'this year's only international climate conference'

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From left to right: Antonio Guterres, Greta Thunberg, Alexander Van der Bellen and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 2019 Austrian World Climate Conference.
From left to right: Antonio Guterres, Greta Thunberg, Alexander Van der Bellen and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the 2019 Austrian World Climate Conference.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ronald Zak
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This year's "only international climate conference" is to take place in Vienna, Austria, on September 17.

The Austrian World Climate Summit is an annual event — now in its fourth year — organised by the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative founded by Austrian-born actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Speakers at the one-day event will include Prince Charles, United Nations Secretary Antonio Guterres, primatologist Jane Goodall and the presidents of Croatia and Slovakia.

The event, originally scheduled to take place in May but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will include a mixture of analogue and digital elements.

"Climate change has not stopped and there is no vaccine against the climate crisis," Monika Langthaler, director of the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative and organisers of the event, said in a statement.

The programme includes discussions on sustainable buildings, how to tackle urban pollution, green recovery plan and the European Green Deal.

Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, will join from Brussels to discuss the recovery of the EU economy and the EU's Green Deal which aims to transition the economy into a greener one in order for the bloc to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

As part of the plan, the bloc will mobilise €100 billion between 2021 and 2027 to help regions most affected by the move towards the green economy hopes to unlock €1 trillion in sustainable public and private investments over the next decade.

In a video address posted in May, on the day the event was meant to take place, Schwarzenegger said that "this year's summit will explore ways to continue marching towards a clean energy future in these times of economic uncertainty".

"We will fight for sustainable economic recovery packages, all around the world, that put people back to work but in good-paying jobs. We will push investments towards innovating green technologies and clean energy instead of the old, outdated fossil fuels. We must get rid of these fossil fuels," he added.

Citing Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who famously said that one ought to "never let a good crisis go to waste", Schwarzenegger argued that "as the world rebuilds from this (COVID-19) disaster, we have an opportunity here to ensure that the new jobs that we create are clean jobs, that the air that we breathe is safer for our children and that we come back stronger, and better than ever."