Austria is one of the leading countries in Europe in the field of environmental protection. In the second half of 2018 Austria held the Presidency of the European Union. During its “Green Presidency” Austria put a particular emphasis on making significant progress in climate and environmental protection, inter alia through promoting sustainable event management. Among others Austria was able to conclude the negotiations of an EU Directive for the ban of especially problematic single use products and to reach an agreement to reduce CO2 emissions in new passenger cars by 37.5 percent in 2030. Austria also represented the EU and its Member States at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 24 in Katowice which was a milestone for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

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On national level Austria also has a long standing commitment to environmental protection as well as ambitious goals for the future. Austria’s Climate and Energy Strategy, #mission2030, aims at the sustainable combination of awareness-raising measures, renewable energies and innovative environmental technologies, here some examples:

  • Austria aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent in 2030 compared to 2005.

  • Austria is the front runner in Europe in the electricity sector. Renewable energy currently accounts for around 33.5% of energy produced; approximately 72% of electricity comes from renewable energy sources. It’s the goal that 100% of Austria’s electricity consumption will be produced from renewable sources by 2030.

  • In the fight against plastic pollution Austria also leads by example and has introduced – as third country within the EU – a ban on single use plastic bags from January 1, 2020.

  • Austria recycles 58% of its municipal waste and is behind Germany the best performer in the EU. Austria is also one of the world’s leading recycling nations.

  • In organic farming Austria is a renowned pioneer and trendsetter. Approximately 23.9% of the farming area in Austria is organic.

Austria is strongly committed to environmental protection and sustainable energy, thus we are very honored to host this year’s DC Environmental Film Festival Benefit Reception at the Austrian Embassy.
— Austrian Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner
Photo | Chris Head (DCEFF's Executive Director), Honorary Host Nora Pouillon and Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner (c) Embassy of Austria

Photo | Chris Head (DCEFF's Executive Director), Honorary Host Nora Pouillon and Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner (c) Embassy of Austria

On February 7, 2019 on the occasion of the Benefit Reception for the 27th Annual DC Environmental Film Festival, the Washington Post Senior National Affairs Correspondent, Juliet Eilperin, will be honored with the Inaugural “Excellence in Journalism Award”. Eilperin, a DC native, and author of two books, has worked at The Washington Post’s national desk for 20 years, covering the White House, Congress and a host of domestic and international policies. Her work has often centered on environmental issues. As Christopher Head, the Executive Director of the Environmental Film Festival explains, “the theme of this year’s festival is ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’ and Juliet Eilperin’s excellent journalism has helped to pave the way for understanding what’s at stake and what our government is or isn’t doing at this moment of environmental crisis.”

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The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) is the world’s premier showcase of environmentally themed films. Since 1993, their mission has been to celebrate Earth and inspire understanding and stewardship of the environment through the power of film. Each March in Washington, D.C., they host the largest environmental film festival in the world, presenting 100+ films to audiences of more than 20,000 and collaborating with over 110 partners, including museums, embassies, universities, and theaters. The festival is one of the leading annual cultural events in Washington, DC, winning the 2017 DC Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Creative Industries. The 27th edition of the DC Environmental Film Festival will take place from March 14 to 24, 2019.