EU Peer Parliaments with Climate Journey in Malaga: conclusions

On 18 February 2022, we run a Climate Journey (guided climate tours) in Malaga (Spain) to set the context on the climate crisis locally, speaking about its causes, impacts and solutions in the local economy. Afterwards, we held joint EU Peer Parliaments with the participants on the three topics suggested: energy, food and mobility. Here the main conclusions in a synthetic way:

1. Mobility

  • In Malaga, unlike in other cities, the public bicycle rental system has been replaced by a private one.
  • The “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).
  • The orography of the city influences with quite a few slopes, but above all 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 their own users as they have to share space with cars.
  • We should give priority to cyclists, but in Spain there is still little culture of cycling mobility, for example there are still quite a few pedestrians on the bike lane.
  • There is a significant need for training, incentives and bicycle parking.
  • Collective public transport should be encouraged, sharing car trips to go to work, organizing bicycle itineraries in groups and/or families to go to schools.
  • Public transport could be made free for everyone, or according to abilities, with a social bonus whose proper use is controlled with technology.
  • Likewise, an “app” to share bicycles would be very useful.
  • In order to reach a critical mass of cyclists, citizen awareness is needed.
  • The Low Emission Zones must be complemented with neighborhoods adapted for bicycles: pedestrians, without parking for cars, more bike lanes, etc., so that cars decrease and bikes increase.
  • The train must be made more economically accessible to be more inclusive and reach a larger part of the population.
  • Air flights are too cheap: one could think of a green tax on flights, but paying more is not the solution, it makes it more exclusive, but it does not reduce pollution.

2. Energy

  • Appropriate aid is needed so that the energy rehabilitation of homes and buildings is inclusive and accessible.
  • Regarding solar self-consumption, we must emphasize awareness 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 certified “Passive House” or similar so that their energy balance is negative (they produce more than they consume).
  • The renaturation of urban environments (rivers, forests, vertical gardens, green roofs, etc.) makes it possible to reduce the ambient temperature and therefore the need for ventilation.
  • Offshore wind power has potential but should not significantly affect the landscape, including reefs.
  • There are many doubts about nuclear energy due to all its serious drawbacks: waste, safety, transportation…
  • Large solar power installations in rural areas, especially agricultural land, should not be promoted. This serious problem is known as “Ruta de la Placa” thanks mainly to the Aliente Association.
  • Placing limits on energy consumption would prevent excessive consumption by high income earners, given that the fines are clearly sufficient.
  • Tourism entails a high consumption of energy, water and resources in general, for which awareness campaigns are needed, intelligent sensors also in tourist flats (permit and seal), (pre) pay for what is consumed and finally limits in accordance with the carrying capacities of the territories and the planet and the needs of the local population.

3. Food

  • Promoting short channels and circuits, the “zero kilometer” consumption, would mean a significant reduction in energy (less distances and less redundant transport of senseless globalization) and therefore in emissions, water and plastic consumption, and a greater creation of equitable employment.
  • It is key to seek self-sufficiency in the bioterritory itself. Malaga, for example, could be together with the Guadalhorce Valley.
  • To normalize local consumption we have to re-educate ourselves in the local agri-food system since we have lost basic knowledge with globalization.
  • To avoid the production model for export as in the case of the greenhouses (“Plastic Sea”) in Almería.
  • Climate-adapted diets and local production are essential for resilience and food sovereignty.
  • For studying the suitability of tariffs on essential products that come from afar and could be combined with the open borders of the EU.
  • Eliminating seed patents and transgenic seeds and foods would avoid favoring the consolidation of the globalized market by large corporations, reverting to greater resilience and sovereignty once again.
  • The solutions go through agroecology, agroecological networks and biodistricts. Such is the mission of SEAE (Spanish Society of Organic Agriculture) and its vision of the European Climate Pact.
  • Similarly, investing in science and R+D+i allows us to move in the right direction.

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

  • At the neighborhood level, based on dialogue between 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 dynamization and facilities for access and participation.
  • The proposals made are evaluated and adhered to by neighborhoods until their presentation in municipal plenary sessions. The mobilization and union happen neighborhood by neighborhood.