This is not a drill
Barcelona climate emergency declaration
On 15 January 2020, the city of Barcelona declared a climate emergency and accelerated a series of changes involving all players in the city. The irrefutable scientific evidence and the effects of the global climate crisis that we are already suffering have caused us to act in an urgent and forceful manner.
There’s still time. It's now or never.
WHY WE ARE MAKING THE DECLARATION
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest studies, if the Earth’s average global temperature rises by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, it will cause irreversible damage that will jeopardise our survival. If we continue our emissions at the current rate, we could reach 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. We must therefore gear the whole system towards achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050 as a matter of urgency.
Five countries alone are responsible for almost 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, and only twenty multinational companies for 35%. Climate justice means that those who are most responsible must make the greatest effort. Those who are suffering the worst consequences and have the fewest options for adapting should not have further burdens placed upon them. Now more than ever we need to look after the most vulnerable people and compel those who can do the most to take transformative action.
Cities have much of the solution in their own hands, and they must also lead the main demands. Barcelona City Council wants to be the leader in this opportunity to speed up the necessary cross-cutting changes in the way we live. We need everyone to get involved and join forces with all the players involved.
How does Barcelona contribute to greenhouse gas emissions?
Everyday activities lead to the emission of tonnes of gases as a result of the direct or indirect burning of fossil fuels.
Activities inside and outside the port
Activities inside the city
Activities inside and outside the airport
Climate change is everyone’s responsibility
We have to work together
Governments and government bodies must put in place effective measures within their powers with courage and responsibility. The City Council is taking its own steps, but other government bodies must also assume their own responsibilities. The Port and the Airport are responsible for 12.86% of the CO2 emissions allocated to the city, as well as for a much higher carbon footprint than that attributable to the city. They therefore play a very significant role in putting a stop to the effects we are already experiencing. This is also true for the Government of Catalonia, which must enforce the Catalan Climate Change Law, and for the Spanish Government, which must stop subsidising fossil fuels and start seriously promoting the move to renewable energies, among other urgent actions.
Businesses and organisations must also contribute by procuring products and services that are environmentally friendly, especially renewable energies, and by decisively promoting the circular economy and the reduction of waste, beyond big declarations and marketing. Energy generation and trading companies, as well as the transport, mobility, consumption and food industries, have even more responsibility. These too must help make their employees consume and travel in a sustainable manner. These are no longer options but necessities.
The public is demanding that the measures take effect faster, with a cultural change that is already becoming established if the worldwide wave of demonstrations is anything to go by. Social movements are calling for the future to be assured with justice and equality. Activism in everyday life involves demanding and consuming in accordance with ethical criteria for people, the environment and other living beings. Citizen proposals and debate must be channelled towards those who are capable of making tangible changes for everyone's benefit.
Speeding up the action
Barcelona has to respond firmly, heed scientists’ warnings and public demands. For that reason, Barcelona intends to become carbon neutral by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to the levels in 19921. That means a reduction of around 1,950,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. The challenge is enormous, but not acting is too risky.