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Colau’s new plans for Barcelona to tackle the climate crisis

Proposals of low emissions zones and driving restrictions as Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship docks in Catalonia

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06 July 2019 12:09 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

As the Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace ship arrived in Barcelona this week, mayor Ada Colau has unveiled a new set of proposals aimed at tackling the climate crisis and making the Catalan capital a more environmentally clean city.

The Greenpeace vessel, which travels the world campaigning for more environmentally-friendly measures and policies, has arrived in Barcelona to demand more stringent measures to reduce CO2 emissions, and change the current energy model to make it so that by 2030, all the energy consumed by the State be renewable.

En Comú’s leader Colau visited the boat this week, in parallel with her new plans that will be pushed at a meeting next week between entities hoping to implement measures that will reduce pollution and take on the climate emergency. At the meeting on Wednesday, Ada Colau is likely to declare a climate emergency in the city, similar to what the Catalan government did in May this year.

Colau said she wanted the declaration to be “brave” and not “fake.” Among the proposals are restricting car access on roads near schools, limiting the speed of vehicles in the city, and avoiding excessive growth of large infrastructures such as the port and airport. 

"We can not resign ourselves to the fact that children are breathing filthy air," said Colau, comparing the quality of air in the city center to tap water that is not safe to drink, a situation she said would be a “scandal.” 

For this reason, the mayor believes it is necessary to act in favor of the health of the growing youth, whose cognitive development will be impeded with the breathing of such dirty air.

Reducing the speed of cars, reducing the use of plastic, changes in the culture of consumption, or even limiting large infrastructures such as the port and airport are some of the proposals that Colau will take into next week’s preparatory meeting. 

Environmental backwards step in Madrid

Colau also lamented that environmental backwards step Madrid has taken, and defended the need for Barcelona to give the opposite message. 

With the arrival of a new right-wing government led by the People’s Party in the Madrid city hall, the “Madrid Central” project has been scrapped, clearing the way for cars to once again clog the city’s streets without any limit of pollution. 

The Spanish capital became the first city in the world to scrap an urban low-emissions zone. Isabel Díaz Ayuso, one of the highest ranking politicians in Madrid city hall, believes that 3am traffic congestion is a part of the city’s “identity,” and that the city’s nightlife “goes hand in hand with congestion,” in an interview with Spanish newspaper El País.

The European Environment Agency estimates that more than 30,000 people die prematurely each year in Spain attributable to air pollution.

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  • Barcelona mayor Ada Colau and deputy mayor Janet Sanz aboard the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. (Photo: Elisenda Rosanas)

  • Barcelona mayor Ada Colau and deputy mayor Janet Sanz aboard the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. (Photo: Elisenda Rosanas)

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