The Democracy Development Fund was established in 2006. The main goals of this non-profit organization were to strengthen the institutions of democracy, to implement solutions that establish democracy in the most transparent systems, to promote technological progress, and increase the energy independence of Lithuania and other Baltic states. According to the founders of the foundation, it is necessary to free democracies from the extremely dangerous shadow influences drowning in corruption.
To achieve these goals, the Foundation publishes an economic and political magazine and organizes forums. In February 2007, the Foundation started publishing the monthly magazine Valstybė. This magazine aimed to educate the Lithuanian elite, to encourage it to strive for technological progress, a transparent media business environment, and energy independence.
In the same year, the first Lithuanian energy conference was held (it was later renamed the GreenTech Vilnius Forum). The main goal of this event is to encourage Lithuanian politicians, businesses, and society to implement a decisive transformation of the energy sector to minimize the consumption of fossil fuels, especially gas, in the heat sector, and to replace gas with local biofuels.
At the beginning of 2008, the first Lithuanian Economic Conference organized by the Foundation took place. Its main goal is to promote the technological and value progress of the Lithuanian economy and business. Technological progress should create conditions for the strengthening of the Lithuanian economy and the well-being of society, and orientation towards the most advanced countries, including Scandinavia, would allow transforming the economic and social system to combine progress with social solidarity. According to the founders of the foundation, this is crucial to prevent external forces from confronting and fragmenting, and taking over our democracy.
The founders of the Fund consider it a success that although the Lithuanian district heating was one of the most dependent on gas supplied by Gazprom, due to the consistent activities of the Fund and its founders, the Lithuanian district heating today is mainly based on biofuels. We also consider it a partial success that after ten years of continuous efforts, we can state today that a layer of leaders has finally formed in Lithuanian politics, who can understand that solidarity, including in tax matters, is crucial for building a strong and progressive civic democracy.
The biggest defeat of the Foundation is the complete failure of 15 years of consistent efforts to unite democratic forces in Lithuania and neighboring countries to implement systemic solutions that would clarify the media market, reduce the influence of oligarchic and Russia-related structures on information space, society, and elite values. Another failure is the lack of progress in fostering business leadership that is empowered to ensure the transparency of democracy, independent media, and the consolidation of state independence, including energy. This can be explained by the fact that it is the media business environment and the values of business leaders that are at the constant target of destructive and corrupt forces seeking to conquer states from within.
Today, the main goal is to prevent fossil and nuclear fuel companies and their countries, often dictatorships, from turning the fight against climate change into an instrument of energy invasion of the European Union’s democracies. Efforts must be made to mobilize democratic forces to create an energy system geared to renewable energy and technological progress and to prevent this green and secure future from being replaced by the future of Gazprom’s gas and Rosatom’s nuclear reactors trying to furnish the European Union and its borders.
The start-up of the Foundation has been funded by the personal resources of the founders, and in recent years the Fund has sought to survive by mobilizing responsible businesses and institutions to support its projects, the objectives of which are best defined by progress, independence, and unity.
The forum will seek to assess the impact of the decisions taken at COP 26 following the United Nations Climate Change Conference on the policies of democracies. In which areas will change have the greatest impact on business, the economy, and society to tackle climate change more decisively, and in which areas should democracies work more closely together if progress is to be made.
The world has welcomed the climate change forum, not only with the growing awareness that we are moving too slowly if we want to stop climate change at 1.5 degrees Celsius but also with rising energy prices. This raises the question of how much this price increase is related to natural economic processes, how much we depend on energy suppliers and how little we invest in renewable energy, and what price scenario we can expect in the future.
Dieselgate has become an example of how advanced democracies and their businesses can make the costly mistake of avoiding change and choosing to live with danger. This is also the case today when not only gas pipelines are being built in the European Union, but also the nuclear reactors of the Rosatom concern in Russia, whose regime is deliberately killing democrats and democracies, are being built in the Union and near its borders. So it's time to ask, is this the vision of the future that democracies should adapt to?
After the United Nations Forum COP 26, it became clear that the world was doing too little to stop climate change. But is such an understanding enough today? Maybe it's time to acknowledge that this is the result of the targeted operation of powerful influential groups and dictatorships based on fossil and nuclear fuels? Therefore, democratic forces fighting for a green and secure future for humanity must unite and work together not only for trillions but also for concrete solutions that will accelerate progress.
The forum will present progress towards the 2025 target that Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia would synchronize with the European Union's electricity supply networks, both by building new connections and by increasing the network for the production, storage, and supply of electricity produced from renewable sources. We call for a debate on what additional solutions are needed to make this green energy network up and running as quickly as possible, reduce the EU's energy dependence and strengthen the economies and democracies of the EU.
We see the development of a smart energy grid based on renewable energy as a key element in the fight against climate change and in securing a democratic future for the EU, so the potential of renewable energy will be given special attention. The prospects for the development of renewable energy sources and, in a separate session, the development of offshore wind energy in the Baltic States will be assessed, as well as the biggest obstacles to the development of renewable energy sources that we must eliminate.
Forests are the lungs of the planet. Unfortunately, a huge amount of wood rots every year, which also emits a huge amount of carbon dioxide. Although a significant part of forests should remain natural to protect their forest ecosystems, the rest of the forests should be managed with the utmost responsibility. It is necessary to reduce decaying wood and increase the amount of energy-generating wood, and to use this fuel in district heating as well.
Why are the interests represented by the fossil fuel business and the dictatorships it underpins, which are often silently sabotaging progress in halting climate change, winning? Because it is easy to convince some people that it is not pollution but taxes on fuel and polluting cars and investing in renewable energy, that is the real evil. The more people we can take an interest in the development of renewable energy sources, the further we will progress in building a civic energy age, the more successful the fight against climate change will be.
We agree with those who say that democracy in the fight against climate change is being funded much less than it should be. However, it is also very important where the dedicated finances go. What funding makes institutions, funds, banks, and other structures available? To which areas of the economy and for what purposes are the funds directed? Will the planned funding provide a solid foundation for faster progress, so we should adjust it decisively?
By 2030, the entire EU transport ecosystem will have to change and significantly reduce its carbon footprint, so it is important to understand what changes are inevitable and how they will affect the business environment and society. It is also important to identify areas where we should be particularly interested in accelerating transformation, as this would increase the potential of the economy and provide a sustainable basis for accelerating the transport ecosystem's approach to zero carbon.
Urban transport pollution is one of the biggest challenges to be addressed in the search for comprehensive solutions to modernize public transport infrastructure, motivate society and businesses to use less polluting vehicles, and focus on state-of-the-art technology. Therefore, the forum will provide a detailed overview of the most successful solutions that have significantly reduced pollution in cities.
The development of electric transport is very important, but how do we promote it? Is it appropriate to reimburse part of the purchase price of an electric car? After all, it requires a lot of resources and it benefits the richer section of society. So perhaps it would be fairer to invest in the electrification of public transport, the creation of an extensive and high-quality network of charging stations, and the promotion of purchases through pollution taxes that would not apply to electric cars? Which way is the best?
How will the freight and passenger business change over time? Can we assess today how zero-emission transport systems will look and function in 2050? It is important to anticipate this if we want to make the right decisions shortly by developing freight and passenger transport infrastructure, increasing the integrity of this system, and reducing pollution.
Technology companies today are worth trillions, but are they making the maximum contribution to building a green and secure future for humanity, or only to the extent that they benefit themselves? Which technologies that can contribute to reducing pollution are pouring in billions of investors today? Which technological breakthroughs are already underway and which we need to pursue in a targeted way, as they will underpin a green future? What is the role of governments and non-governmental organizations in promoting technological progress and the development of future technologies?
Hydrogen can become the most important energy source and, together with renewable resources, ensure zero pollution in the energy production process. It is, therefore, crucial to identify technologies that will accelerate the development of cheaper hydrogen production, to assess the potential for cheapening and the potential for governments to promote this progress. There is also a need to answer the questions about what infrastructure and how we should develop if we want to exploit the potential of hydrogen.
Digitization, like 5G Internet access, can help transform existing economic and business models. This is likely to make a significant contribution to reducing pollution not only in energy and transport but also in trade and industry, including food. It is therefore important to responsibly assess which technologies the business and the state should focus on to reduce pollution.
Financial technologies are transforming the banking system by moving a significant part of it to the online space. This reduces pollution, but at the same time bitcoin, still dominant among cryptocurrencies, has become a new major energy consumer. So it is time to ask whether we are moving responsibly on the path to financial technology, whether we can identify areas where progress is crucial for the future of business and humanity, and where we need to see and eliminate the risks that could have the opposite effect.
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