The covid-19 crisis caused a reduction in 9% per year of greenhouse gas emissions in Barcelona. During lockdown and lockdown, the city stopped releasing the equivalent of 300,000 tons of CO2. That roughly corresponds to annual goal that the municipal government gave itself in the Declaration of Climate Emergency that it approved in January, with the objective of reach half of 1992 emissions by 2030.
This is the most outstanding result of the first follow-up report of that statement, which was submitted this afternoon. Climate accounts, which the City Council has promised to render every six months, have focused on the impact of pandemic crisis that has happened in between.
Although it may result in pyrrhic victory, the emission reduction is spectacular. For example, ground operations of port and airport stopped emitting a volume of gases that the City Council planned to cut by five years. The cars they cut what was planned in two years and a half.
During the quarantine, the city went from being trodden by 2.7 million people every day, to 1.7 million, with the disappearance of tourism and the floating population that does not reside in the city.
“This year we are going to comply with the declaration,” said the climate emergency councilor Eloi Badia, which nevertheless recognized the temporary nature of these data.
In fact, the city is recovering its mobility mainly based on private vehicles, while public transport remains low. That could lead to a rebound in car emissions in the autumn even above pre-crisis levels.
Badia trusts that Low Emission Zone sanctions, which will be activated on September 15, they will contribute to reviving the use of public vehicles, together with “reputational campaigns”.
All this is still a minor aspect, when compared to the emissions from flights and ships arriving at the port and airport of Barcelona, which have more impact than the city as a whole. During the quarantine, those routes stopped pouring into the atmosphere 700,000 and 1.4 million tons of gases respectively
The report also updates forecasts on the effects of climate change on the city. Within this century, the duration of heat waves it could happen from five days on average to 42 in the worst case scenario. The sea level could rise up to 1.38 meters, and even with the compromised measures it would rise by 25 centimeters.
“I value this follow-up report very positively: there is no administration that is doing this work in the situation we are in,” he says. Javier Martin Vide, climatologist at the University of Barcelona. “It is true that reducing emissions [por el covid-19] is conjunctural, but it would be interesting to see if a structural component, associated for example with the consolidation of telecommuting“observes the researcher.
The report also details the mitigation actions from the Town Hall: new pedestrian streets, super-islands, new green spaces, flood-resistant sewers and so on.
“Barcelona is getting involved, but there are pending actions. For example, the Besós revaluation plant continues active and emitting “, observes Victor Luna, vice-president of the Association of Environmentalists of Catalonia (COAMB).
Javier Martín Vide, for his part, misses more insistence on naturalize the soil. “Hard squares like those that surround Sants station, which cannot be used in summer, no longer make sense,” concludes the researcher.