Barcelona has just obtained an outstanding award in the fight against climate change. In a 'ranking' of 596 cities, the city has entered among the 43 that have received an A of note, along with Cape Town, Hong Kong, Athens, Paris, London, Buenos Aires, New York and San Francisco, among others.
The list is published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a British non-governmental organization that normally assesses the environmental quality of companies. The CDP declares itself independent, since it does not offer consultancy work to companies or governments and is financed with donations.
It is not the first time that cities are compared because of their environmental impact (there are, for example, the Siemens Green Cities Index and the Covenant of Mayors for Climate). However, it is the first global analysis that specifically points to climate change.
CDP sent questionnaires to municipal administrations around the world. In them, he asked if they measure the emissions and have studied the vulnerabilities of the cities, as well as if they have plans of emission reduction and mitigation of climate change.
"We decided to publish the results for the first time in the face of the urgency of the situation, cities occupy 2% of the Earth but are responsible for 70% of the total emissions," he says. Kyra Appleby, responsible for cities in the CDP. The NGO has published the answers to all the questionnaires, but has only released the cities with the highest marks. "We want to teach good examples," argues Appleby.
In Barcelona, the organization highlights its plan to reduce 45% of emissions in 2030 and achieve neutrality by 2050 (other cities, such as San Francisco, have opted directly for 100% renewable energy). As for concrete measures, Appleby emphasizes the creation of 'superilles' and the assignment of 1.2 million euros to citizen projects against climate change.
"Recognition and pride"
"For us it is a recognition and a pride", says Janet Sanz, Councilor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council. "We have made a commitment to decarbonize the city, with initiatives such as bike lanes, the purchase of electric buses, the municipal electric operator and the greater facility to install solar panels," he adds. Sanz admits that car emissions have not been reduced throughout the city, but underlines that "we are now prepared to make a very strong qualitative leap".
"I am not surprised by this positive note: Barcelona City Council is a city that works to integrate research (environmental) and policies, it is committed to mitigating climate change and paying special attention to inequalities and participation," he says. Isabelle Anguelovski, researcher of the Institute of Science and Environmental Technologies (ICTA) not involved in the development of the 'ranking' of the CDP.
Limitations and commitments
Jeroen van Den Bergh, an environmental economist at ICTA, is more skeptical: "One can not expect much from cities, the most important tools to regulate emissions are usually the responsibility of national governments, and we do not see a clear reduction in emissions from cities." Sanz admits the limitations, but believes that the commitment of the big cities can shake governments.
After the Paris agreement, 90% more cities have adopted emissions reduction targets, according to Appleby. Among the most innovative is Paris, which aims to cut in half the consumption of meat in public kitchens in 2030, and London, which has involved private companies. Sanz says that the next goal of Barcelona should be to free the city of plastics.
(tagsToTranslate) Barcelona (t) climate change (t) warming (t) ranking (t) CDP (t) cities (t) study (t) research