Scroll down for more information or click to jump to summaries and videos for each session
> Introduction to event
> Opening remarks
> Sustainability: Net zero 2050: at what cost?
> Geopolitics: “Europe’s Collective Security: what is the path ahead?
> About the speakers

Thursday 20 April 2023 – Online event

SPRING SEMINAR: Sustainability and Geopolitics: 2030 and beyond

10.30 – 10.40 (UK time)

The Ideas Network 2030 Spring Seminar was held on the 20th April, including two sessions looking at two timely and relevant topics, climate change and European security. The seminar was opened by the Ideas Network 2030 Chair, Damian Green MP, who addressed the two key issues of geopolitical security following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the climate crisis.

Stressing the need for European unity, especially concerning the long-term threat of China, he highlighted the hopeful developments for better cooperation between the UK and EU following the agreement of the Windsor Framework and praised the UK’s support for Ukraine and NATO as well as the vast changes that are necessary in the industrialised world if we are to meet our net zero 2050 target without reaching a catastrophic level of warming.

Over the course of the two panels making up the seminar, the Network heard from several experts, including Professor Dieter Helm, Nico Lange, Dimitar Lilkov, Charles Lichfield, Sam Hall, and Sophia Gaston. In the first panel, they stressed the need for a thorough strategy to achieve net zero, taking into account the global impact, the effectiveness of climate policies, political will, climate adaptation, and support for SMEs. In the second panel, the evolving threats to Europe’s security were highlighted, including the challenges facing NATO, the crucial role of the UK, the need for a wide-ranging security approach, the importance of public awareness and resilience, and the role of diplomacy and dialogue.

More detailed takeaways from these conversations are outlined below.

Opening remarks

Rt Hon Damian Green MP, President IN2030

Watch short selection from this session (7 min video).

Sustainability: Net zero 2050: at what cost?

Confirmed speakers
Keynote Speaker: Sir Dieter Helm, Oxford University
Comments: Dimitar Lilkov, Wilfried Martens Centre & Sam Hall, Conservative Environment Network
Moderator: Frank Nigriello, Unipart

Climate Change is likely to intensify over the next 2 decades. As the last NIC 2040 report indicates, “more extreme storms, droughts and floods; melting glaciers and ice caps, and rising sea levels will accompany rising temperatures”. For both the UK and the EU, reaching net zero will mean the most radical transformation of the modern economy in history, with new modes of production, distribution and consumption invented in order to ensure the full de-carbonisation of the global economic system.

The following summarises the key points during this session.

1. Comprehensive Approach: Achieving net zero requires a comprehensive approach that considers both emissions reduction and carbon sequestration. It should also account for consumption-related emissions and provide a more accurate representation of a country’s carbon footprint.

2. Global Impact: The UK’s impact on global climate change, while important, is relatively small compared to rapidly developing nations. As a result, the UK should prioritize actions that can make a significant global impact and support other countries in their transition to low-carbon economies.

3. Effective Solutions: Climate policies need to be effective and go beyond simplistic approaches. They should incorporate international cooperation, market-based approaches, and targeted subsidies for green technologies to ensure a balanced and efficient transition.

4. Political Considerations: Effective climate policies require political will and cooperation. Discussions emphasized the importance of international cooperation and the role of politics in finding (as well as avoiding) effective solutions. EU-UK cooperation and alignment of climate goals were highlighted as crucial for sustained progress.

5. Climate Adaptation: Climate adaptation and preparedness are essential in addressing the challenges posed by climate change. This includes reducing emissions as a priority, integrating climate adaptation measures into building regulations, and engaging the public and private sector in efforts to build resilience.

6. Support for SMEs: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in the transition to a sustainable future. They require support through flexible regulations, sector-specific approaches, incentives, and practical advice to adopt energy efficiency measures and invest in net-zero technologies.

Watch short selection of comments from Sir Dieter Helm, Oxford University (11 min video).

Watch selection of comments from this session from Dimitar Lilkov, Sam Hall and Frank Nigriello (12 min video).

Geopolitics: “Europe’s Collective Security: what is the path ahead?”

Confirmed speakers
Keynote Speaker: Nico Lange, Munich Security Conference
Comments: Charles Lichfield, Atlantic Council & Sophia Gaston, Policy Exchange
Moderator: Felix Dane, Berlin Global Advisors, Director IN2030

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has opened a new era for geopolitics, openly showing that the multilateral order is under threat. Instability looks to be a permanent element for long term scenario planning. The Transatlantic Partnership has been galvanised to take measures to strengthen their capacity to act collectively. Europeans have to consider their future security. The grey ambiguity of cyber warfare and the shifting geopolitical sands to the East are clearly visible. The West must find a way to challenge successfully autocratic hegemony.

The following summarises the key points during this session.

1. Evolving Threats: Europe’s collective security landscape is rapidly changing due to evolving threats such as hybrid warfare tactics, disinformation campaigns, and cyber warfare. European countries must adapt their defence and security strategies to counter these threats effectively.

2. NATO’s Role and Challenges: NATO remains crucial for preserving peace and stability in Europe. However, increased defence spending and the alignment of political priorities among member states are necessary to address emerging challenges and ensure its continued effectiveness.

3. UK’s Involvement in European Security: Despite Brexit, the UK remains an essential player in European security, and its involvement in shaping future defence cooperation is crucial. Bilateral defence industrial cooperation with key countries, such as France, is vital to maintain a strong security posture.

4. Comprehensive Security Approach: A comprehensive approach to European security should incorporate not only military aspects but also economic, energy, and technological dimensions. Collaboration in research and development and a robust cybersecurity strategy are essential to maintaining competitiveness and resilience.

5. Public Awareness and Resilience: Enhancing public awareness of the challenges posed by disinformation campaigns and hybrid warfare is critical. Education, media literacy, and transparency can build resilience against these threats, and collaboration between governments, the private sector, and civil society is necessary to counter disinformation and strengthen democratic processes.

6. Diplomacy and Dialogue: While a strong and unified European security posture is necessary to deter potential threats, diplomatic engagement and open channels of communication with Russia remain essential in managing tensions and preventing escalation.

Watch selection of comments from the session from Nico Lange (13 min video).

Watch selection of comments from the session from Charles Lichfield, Sophia Gaston and Felix Dane (13 min video).

Concluding session

Frank Nigriello, Unipart & Felix Dane, Berlin Global Advisors, Director IN2030
Moderator: Alex Boyd, Strand Partners

About the speakers (in order of agenda)

Rt Hon Damian Green

Damian was first elected to Parliament 1997, being re-elected seven times, most recently in 2019. He was the First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office from June 2017 until December 2017. In 2016 he was the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and from 2012-14 was Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, a role covering both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. In October 2012 he was made a member of the Privy Council. From May 2010 to October 2012 he was Minister of State for Immigration. He was a Conservative Spokesman on Education and Employment from 1998-99, Conservative Environment Spokesman from 1999-2001, Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills from 2001-2003, and Shadow Secretary of State for Transport from 2003-2004. From July 2004-2005 he was a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee; from July to December 2005 he was a member of the Treasury Select Committee. In December 2005, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Immigration. He is a former financial journalist and worked in the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit from 1992-94. Damian contested Brent East in the 1992 General Election. He was educated at Reading School and Balliol College, Oxford. He was President of the Oxford Union in 1977.

Sir Dieter Helm

Dieter Helm is Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. From 2012 to 2020, he was Independent Chair of the Natural Capital Committee, providing advice to the government on the sustainable use of natural capital. He provides extensive expert advice to UK and European governments, regulators and companies across three key areas: Energy & Climate; Regulation, Utilities & Infrastructure; and Natural Capital & the Environment.

Dimitar Lilkov

Dimitar Lilkov is a Senior Research Officer at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies focusing on energy and climate, as well as digital policy. Specific fields of expertise cover the European Energy Union, energy security and decarbonisation policies. On the digital front, the respective research topics include novel European regulation in the online domain, privacy, disinformation, as well as technological competition with the People’s Republic of China. He is the host of the Martens Centre’s Brussels Bytes podcast on technology and EU policy. Dimitar’s professional résumé features the EU Committee of the Regions and the European Parliament, where between 2014-2017 he acted as Head of the Bulgarian office of an EPP Group MEP. Dimitar has a Master’s Degree in Politics and Government in the EU from the London School of Economics (LSE) and holds a BA in International Relations from Sofia University. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD at the European Studies Department of Sofia University with a specific research focus on the decision-making dynamics within the Council of the EU.

Sam Hall

Sam is the Director of the Conservative Environment Network, an independent forum for conservatives that support net zero, nature restoration, and resource security. CEN works with a caucus of over 150 parliamentarians to drive the green agenda in Westminster. Sam joined CEN in 2019, after having served as a Policy Adviser to Michael Gove when he was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He was also the Head of Research at the liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue, leading their work on energy and the environment and authoring several policy reports, and a Parliamentary Researcher for a Conservative MP.

Frank Nigriello

Frank Nigriello is a writer, editor, and management consultant with a strong background in working with both ‘blue chip’ companies and SMEs. He is Director of Corporate Affairs for Unipart, the global manufacturing, logistics and consultancy group headquartered in Oxford, Chairman of Oxfordshire Business First and chair of the B4 business network. In 2014, he was named as HRH The Prince of Wales’s Responsible Business Ambassador for the South East. He is a founder member of IN2030. Frank began his career as a journalist, first in New York then in the UK. He joined IBM UK and later joined Barclays PLC as its first Head of Organisational Communications. Frank has been chairman of Oxfordshire’s Economic Partnership and chaired the county’s Employment and Skills Board. He was Chair of the South East Advisory Board of Business in the Community and a member of the Oxford Strategic Partnership board. He is currently leading an innovation project with SMEs and has edited a book about Oxfordshire entrepreneurs.

Nico Lange

Nico Lange is a Senior Fellow at the Munich Security Conference and a public expert on Russia and the war in Ukraine. Lange was Chief of Staff at the Federal Ministry of Defense of Germany from 2019 to 2022. Before being appointed to the MoD, Lange was Deputy General Manager of the CDU Deutschlands and Director of Strategic Planning and International Politics at CDU Headquarters. Prior, Nico Lange served as State Commissioner for Innovation and Strategy to the State Government of Saarland, Director of the USA office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Washington D.C, and Deputy Director for political consulting at Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung headquarters in Berlin. Lange served as director of the Ukraine office of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Kyiv from 2006-2012. He was awarded a Robert Bosch Fellowship in St. Petersburg, Russia from 2003-2006. Lange speaks fluent Ukrainian and Russian.

Charles Lichfield

Charles Lichfield is the deputy director and C. Boyden Gray senior fellow, of the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center. He previously worked as an analyst in Eurasia Group’s Europe team, leading coverage on France and Germany, deputizing on Brexit, and monitoring an extensive variety of European security, trade, neighborhood, and energy policies. His analysis and commentary have been featured on Bloomberg News, the BBC, the Financial Times, Le Figaro, and Bild-Zeitung, among others. Lichfield holds an MSc in economics from the University of London and an MA in German and Russian from the University of Cambridge.

Sophia Gaston

Sophia Gaston is Head of Foreign Policy and UK Resilience at Policy Exchange. She is a foreign policy analyst and a researcher focused on the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security theatres. Sophia has pioneered influential social research on public opinion about foreign policy in the United Kingdom, and has authored several major studies on the integration of domestic and international policy agendas. Sophia most recently spent three years as the Director of the British Foreign Policy Group, and as a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an Expert Associate at the National Security College in Canberra, a Research Member of the University of Oxford, and an Academic Fellow at the European Policy Centre.

Felix Dane

Felix Dane is Senior Advisor, Head of U.K. at Berlin Global Advisors (BGA), Germany’s leading geostrategic and government affairs advisory firm. He is responsible for U.K.-based business, particularly in the fields of energy, security and geopolitical shifts, always focusing on the further development of German-British business and political relations. On the side, he is also the Founder and Director of Hendrik Ltd., a small hydrogen start-up; a Director of IN2030, a centre-right political network investigating global trends likely to impact the UK and its’ neighbourhood; and a member of the CDU’s Executive Board in the U.K. Past experience includes leading several offices around the world for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a German political think-tank — from Ramallah to Rio, as well managing parliamentary offices at the European Parliament. He holds an MSc in European Studies from the LSE, and speaks several languages.

Alex Boyd

Alex Boyd is a Director at Strand Partners, a consultancy based in London. He formerly worked as a senior civil servant and special adviser in UK Government as well as in the European Parliament.

IN2030 events are organised in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Wilfred Martens Centre for European Studies and the Conservative European Forum. This event receives financial support from the European Parliament. Sole Liability rests with the organizers, the European Parliament is not responsible for the activity.