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Stance on the treatment of the climate emergency by the new Generalitat government

THE CLIMATE JUSTICE NETWORK (XARXA PER LA JUSTICIA CLIMÀTICA – XJC) EXPRESSES ITS CONCERN ABOUT THE POLITICAL DOWNGRADING OF THE TREATMENT OF THE CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY IN THE NEW GOVERNMENT OF LA GENERALITAT (CATALAN GOVERNMENT)

XJC calls for a Vice-Presidency for Ecosocial Transition with the capacity to transversalise and coordinate the work of all departments in a common strategy, to achieve an ecological transition with social justice and address degrowth in a planned way, in an approach that thinks far beyond the next elections.

After the 132nd President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonés, was sworn in, and following the announcement of the government pact between ERC and Junts per Catalunya at the time the new structure of the next executive of the Generalitat, made up of 14 ministries, was made public, we at the Climate Justice Network want to highlight the seriousness of the failure to fulfil some of the commitments that had been made regarding environmental policies and the management of the climate emergency in the new government.

To begin with, during the campaign, the same candidate, Pere Aragonés, had confirmed the commitment to recover the Department of Environmental Affairs, which has been non-existent since 2010. Instead, we find ourselves with a Climate Action that has fallen victim to the government agreement. A spare part that has been erratically finding a home, first in Foreign Affairs and finally as a department in a sectorialised and hybrid Ministry of Agriculture and Food. And it is not that the associated issues are not relevant to address the climate emergency and environmental management. But we want to make it clear that this is not an adequate response to the current challenges, nor to the demands of the vast majority of organizations, environmental entities and platforms in defence of the territory of our country. That is why we call for an immediate rethink.

Consistent with everything set out in the “declaration of climate and environmental emergency” made by the Catalan government in May 2019, and because all the political, social and environmental events and all the scientific evidence added since then only increase and deepen the challenges to be faced, the Climate Justice Network (XJC) believes that what is needed now is a Vice-Presidency for Ecosocial Transition, with the capacity to prioritize and integrate into all government action that which should be the main goal of the coming legislatures.

Catalonia’s most important administration, and therefore the country itself, can no longer do without a structure with political and budgetary capacity, equipped with the necessary instruments to address the intensity, complexity and multidisciplinary nature of the actions required. We need to bring into play all the economic and human resources necessary to address challenges such as the conservation of natural and agricultural spaces as well as biodiversity, the management of the human right to water, the management of waste policy, an inclusive agreement on energy transition – which is currently giving rise to a profound debate on how to implement it –, environmental health, taxation, the strengthening of socio-environmental education, the green transition of industry, the adaptation and transition of important sectors of our economy, coastal conservation, food sovereignty, among so many other vital aspects.

All these strategies are multidimensional and cannot continue to be diluted as in recent years in departments which, in both cases, have not stood out for their sensitivity in understanding and prioritizing socio-environmental policies, very often giving in to different interests that have been presented to them, from pressure from the lobby for energy, tourism, forestry or urban development, in cases such as speculation on the Costa Brava, BCN World, the Winter Olympics, the pressure on the Llobregat Delta and the expansion of the airport, etc.

According to the scientific community and the UN, we have a decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of more than 7.6% per year in order to prevent a temperature rise of more than 1.5º Celsius. We have wasted 4 years on a dormant and outdated Climate Law. We are long overdue. At this point in time, not moving forward, or moving forward timidly, would be the same as going backwards. If there is no rectification of the lack of political ambition in this regard shown by the announcement of the new institutional structure of the Generalitat, this would be another lost legislature, which we cannot afford under any circumstances. We, therefore, call on the three parties involved in the new government agreement to intervene to put the eco-social transition at the centre of policy with the instruments it requires.

We call for a Vice-Presidency for Ecosocial Transition with the capacity to integrate and coordinate the performance of all departments in a common strategy, to achieve an ecological transition with social justice and address degrowth in a planned way, in an effort that thinks about the common good, well beyond the next elections. Time is running out, and it is time to act as is necessary and known.

Xarxa de Justícia Climàtica

26th May 2021

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