Conclusions from the “EU Peer Parliaments” after a Climate Journey in Malaga, Spain

Social innovation for climate action

Conclusions from the “EU Peer Parliaments” after a Climate Journey in Malaga, Spain

March 4, 2022 Climate Journey International events 0

Here we share the proposals made during the multi-topic “EU Peer Parliament” (mobility, energy, food) we hosted on February 18 in Malaga, after a special Climate Journey around these issues. It was co-facilitated by three EU Climate Pact ambassadors: Carmen María Pérez-Juan and Jesus Iglesias Saugar from Social Climate, and Nicolás Eliades from The Clima.

1.Mobility

  • In Malaga, unlike in other cities, the public bicycle rental system has been replaced by a private one.
  •  “Lane 30” shared between cars and bicycles does not work because cars go faster than 30km/h and it is very dangerous for bicycles (several accidents already).
  • The orography of the city has certain influence (on the low use of bikes) due to the numerous slopes, but above the main factor is the lack of an extensive, connected and safe network of bike lanes.
  • There is a lack of knowledge of mobility laws, particularly in relation to scooters, around which there is a legal vacuum and serious safety problems for both pedestrians and users as they have to share space with cars sometimes.
  • We should give priority to cyclists, but in Spain there is still little culture of cycling mobility, with many pedestrians still using the bike lane for example.
  • There is a significant need for training, incentives and parking for bicycles.
  • Collective public transport should be encouraged, sharing car rides to go to work, organizing bicycle itineraries in groups and families to go to school.
  • Public transport could be free for everyone, or according to economic capacities, with a social bonus appropriately used thanks to technology.
  • Likewise, an “app” to share bicycles would be very useful.
  • In order to reach a critical mass of cyclists, raising public awareness is key.
  • Low Emission Zones must be complemented with neighborhoods adapted for bicycles: pedestrian zones, no parking for cars, more bike lanes, etc., so that cars decrease in numbers and bikes increase.
  • The train must be made more affordable, so as to be more economically inclusive and reach a greater part of the population.
  • Flights are too cheap, hence we could think of a green tax on them, but paying more is not the solution, as it makes it more exclusive, but it doesn’t actually reduce pollution.

2. Energy

  • Adequate aid is needed so that the energy rehabilitation of homes and buildings is inclusive and affordable.
  • Regarding community solar energy, we must emphasize awareness raising, so that the greatest energy consumption takes place during the day (solar production) and thus avoid the need for batteries as much as possible.
  • Newly constructed buildings must be “Passive House” certified (or similar), to ensure their energy balance is negative (they produce more than they consume).
  • The rewilding of urban environments (rivers, forests, vertical gardens, green roofs…) allows for the reduction of the ambient temperature and therefore the need for artificial ventilation.
  • Offshore wind energy has potential but should not significantly affect the landscape, including reefs.
  • There are many doubts about nuclear energy due to all its serious drawbacks, from the radioactive waste, to safety and transportation.
  • Large solar energy power plants in rural areas, especially on agricultural land, should not be promoted. This serious problem is known in Spain as the “Solar Panel Route”, thanks mainly to the Aliente Association.
  • Placing limits on energy consumption would prevent excessive consumption by high income earners, given fines are clearly insufficient.
  • Tourism entails a high consumption of energy, water and resources in general, thus demanding awareness raising campaigns, the use of intelligent sensors also in tourist flats (which must have a permit and a seal), (pre)payment of what’s to be consumed, and lastly setting limits on the industry itself, according to the carrying capacities of the territory and the planet’s, and the needs of the local population.

3. Food

  • Promoting short circuits and proximity consumption (“zero kilometer” as it’s called in Spain), which would mean a significant reduction in energy (less long and redundant transport from senseless globalization), and therefore in emissions, consumption of water and plastics, as well as a greater equitable job creation.
  • It is vital to pursue and build self-reliance and sovereignty in the bioterritory itself. In the case of Malaga, for instance, the city together with the Guadalhorce Valley could attain that goal.
  • To mainstream local consumption, we have to re-educate ourselves and learn about local agri-food systems, since we have lost basic knowledge duet to globalization.
  • The paradigm of production for export must be avoided, as is the case of the greenhouses (“Plastic Sea”) in Almeria (southeast Spain).
  • Climate-proofed diets and local production and consumption are essential for resilience and food sovereignty.
  • To be studied the suitability of tariffs on essential products that come from afar, and how they could be combined with the open borders policy of the EU.
  • The eradication of seed patents and transgenic seeds and foods would avoid favoring the consolidation of globalized market by large corporations, building instead greater resilience and sovereignty.
  • Agroecology, agroecological networks and biodistricts are key elements of the solution. Such is the mission of SEAE (Spanish Society of Organic Agriculture) and its vision of the European Climate Pact.
  • Likewise, investing in science and R&D and innovation advances progress in the right direction.

In a cross-cutting way, the issue of citizen governance of the climate, and the commons in general, was discussed around citizen assemblies:

  • at the neighborhood level, based on dialogue among neighbors, they enable the search for consensus and collaboration with institutions.
  • however, they require prior training in the subject in question.
  • they must guarantee inclusion through proper facilitation and participation.
  • the proposals made are evaluated and adhered to by neighborhoods, and then presented in municipal plenary sessions. Hence, mobilization and unity happen neighborhood after neighborhood.