12/04/2019: THIRD DAY OF COP25

On this third day, we have moved away from the Blue Zone, leaving political leaders and other organizations between debates, plenary sessions and thematic or regional group meetings. We have moved to the Green Zone. This is a citizen space, for meeting and environmental awareness, with which Spain wants to contribute to facilitating the participation of all civil society. The theme of the activities carried out in this space are about just transition, health, gender, sustainable finance, innovation, forests, science and climate change or solutions based on nature.

Here, the different social, civil and business agents meet where, as in the blue zone, ideas, positions, achievements and aspirations are discussed and exchanged to reduce emissions and improve the environment.

In today’s session, topics such as food, environmental education or sustainable tourism have been discussed.

In the Mare Nostrum space, the Environmental Education Plan for Sustainability has been presented at the same time as the initiative of the Andalusian eco-schools. An interesting initiative without a doubt to raise awareness and involve the change of the smallest of society. And although important is no longer about educating future generations, it is about making schools, like any other entity, reduce their contribution to global warming. And these, as exemplary entities, have to assume the double challenge, to educate, but also to transition themselves to another model.

The second topic was sustainable tourism. Controversial issue where there are, since today tourism goes hand in hand with environmental impact and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. According to the UN alert in 2017, the carbon footprint of this sector is equivalent to up to 8% of total global emissions. On the other hand, that same year tourism generated around 10% of the total world GDP and grew enormously compared to other economic sectors. Its importance worldwide has been proven, what a century ago was something residual today is a global phenomenon, and it is time to put doors to this sector.

It is expected that 21% of the emissions in 2030 will be derived from tourist transport. Then the challenge is huge for the sector. In countries with solid economies like Sweden, there has been a decrease in internal flights and not because of economic recession but because of environmental awareness. Maybe it’s time to rethink how to travel and how far to travel.

The third of the topics covered has been food justice and the relationship between factory farming and climate change. Members of the main environmental and nature conservation NGOs in the state have participated in this debate: Ecologists in Action, Friends of the Earth, SEO/Birdlife, WWF and Greenpeace. In the debate, the current livestock industry and the excessive meat consumption of Western societies have been called into question. And it is that livestock is the second sector that emits more emissions into the atmosphere, only after transportation. With data from two years ago, the cattle ranch emitted 9% of CO2, 37% of methane and up to 65% of nitrous oxide. In total, 18% of the total emissions at the planetary level.