Tuesday, October 3

If you live in one of these cities, your health is in luck

A cyclist rides along the Turia riverbed in Valencia, one of the capitals dedicated to the Climate Mission. / Eph

Europe selects one hundred cities, seven Spanish, to promote its green transformation

Rocio Mendoza

Life in the city has many advantages; but if its current management and growth model is not reconsidered, it will seriously compromise the very lives of its inhabitants.

The emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) that they generate when moving, consuming, eating, staying or having fun, in short when living, is the great threat. Both because these gases cause global warming -and, consequently, the fearsome climate change- and because they pollute the air that its inhabitants breathe.

The WHO was blunt a few weeks ago on this matter in its latest appeal on the matter: “Almost the entire world population breathes polluted air above what can be considered healthy,” concluded the notorious report.

The magnitude of this reality, if you look at the data, is overwhelming. Cities generate 70% of the total GHG recorded on the entire planet, despite only occupying 4% of it. In addition, they consume more than 65% of the world’s energy. And the heat they emit has been the subject of discussion and alarm in the latest panel of UN experts (IPCC), where they are described as ‘heat islands’ that accelerate the increase in Earth’s temperatures.

This is the fixed photo, but the tendency is for these figures to grow, for the urban centers themselves to increase in size. In Europe, for example, it is expected that 85% of its citizens will live in cities in the year 2050. 15% more than today. How far will the harmful effects that these large human concentrations have on the health of the climate go in this case?

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So that the answer to this question does not become catastrophic, the European Commission launched the Cities for Climate project just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through this, it intends to promote the transformation of the management and government model of a series of chosen cities, in order to reduce their emissions and turn them into climate-neutral entities. The welfare of citizens and care for the environment would thus be at the center of the policies.

377 applicants throughout the continent

After months of preparations, design of actions, development of initiatives, reports and evaluations, 25 Spanish cities (377 throughout the continent) presented themselves as candidates to be Europe’s innovation laboratory. Yesterday it was announced
100 chosenseven in Spain, which will basically receive financing and technical advice.

In our country, the inhabitants of Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Valladolid, Zaragoza and Seville are the ones who can celebrate having joined this select club that will design a healthier future. In the rest of Europe, almost all the capitals of the 27 states are represented. In total, the program will affect 12% of the population of the continent.

Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen praised the initiative of participating governments, calling them “pioneers” in a green transformation, she said, that has already begun in Europe.

Those responsible for the program highlighted the importance of acting in cities because they can contribute “substantially to the objective of the European Green Deal of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030”. What does this translate into in practice? “In offering cleaner air, safer transport and less congestion and noise to its citizens,” they explain from the Climate Mission. More health, individual and global, in short.


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