Local and regional levels lead the way against climate change at the Change the Change Conference
The “Regional Environment” and “Cities” panels pooled experiences and contributed to the grassroots vision of fighting climate change.
The Change the Change Conference, one of this year’s key events in this field, brought together different levels of action on its first day.
The first day of the ‘Change the Change’ Climate Change Conference was jam packed with inspiring sessions. In the morning, the institutional opening and the keynote speakers of the ilk of Nicholas Stern, the British economist, was followed by the session with Uxua López and Ana Payo, “heroines of the planet” and representing the Global Network of 1,000 Women in STEMM against Climate Change, who are currently working on a project in the Antarctica.
The experts on the “Planet Health: Science for Action” panel agreed that science needs to set the policies to address an undeniable and growing problem. Doctor Alejandro Cearreta, from the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), stressed that “we are increasing sixfold the sea level rates of million years ago”. The Chair of the Commission for Climatology World Meteorological Organization, Manola Brunet, explained that “warming has not only increased the air temperature at the surface, but the heat is also being dramatically stored in the ocean, and that is going to have an impact as oceans are the climate’s memory, a ticking time bomb for the future when it is released”. As regards the causes, “the use of the fossil fuel is mainly responsible for greenhouse gas emissions”.
This idea was repeated by the Co-President of ENCORE and Minister of Climate, Sustainability and Resources – Central Denmark, Susanne Buch, whose region is committed to clean energy: “Our aim is for over 50% of our energy coming from renewable sources by 2025”. It is also committed to the circular economy, to “turning waste into resources” and to recycling. Change the Change showcased these more local experiences in the ‘Regional Environment’ panel to involve more levels in the fight against climate change.
Local actions for global change
The Minister for the Environment and Climate Change – Lombardy, Raffaele Cattaneo, defined climate change as a “glocal” problem: even though the problem is global, “according to the United Nations, the majority of political actions are implemented at local level”. The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, stressed that, despite already having numerous pro-environment measures in place, “Scotland’s decarbonisation means that we must all be involved” and that “resilience is fundamental”. The Government of the Balearic Island’s Minister for Land, Environment and Mobility, Marc Pons i Pons, discussed measures such as a ban on bringing diesel cars to the islands from 2025 and the transition to electric transport, and pointed out that “business, institutional or civil agreements” are therefore necessary.
“Cities”, the Conference’s most grassroots panel, gathered stakeholders, including the Mayor of Seville and Chair of the Spanish Network of Cities for Climate, Juan Espadas, and Joan Clos, Former Executive Director UN Habitat, together in a discussion. According to Espadas, the conclusion is clear in this regard: “Where most results can be obtained in the fight against climate change is at local level”.