The Environmental Safety Group has called for public debate on the global crisis of climate change following the Gibraltar Government’s climate emergency declaration.
In a statement the ESG said: “Public debate is needed to gain widespread support and understanding.”
“In this way policy makers, industry and the community at large, can work towards a step plan to underpin Government’s recently declared Climate Emergency Pledge.”
“As well as our own impacts we can see how complex and challenging the issue of transitioning to a more sustainable world and real action on climate change becomes when we look around the Bay and across to North Africa: three countries – trading in fossil fuels – with volumes growing each year.”
Across the border a study on the Campo industrial zone emissions estimated that over 10,000,000 tons of CO2 were released in 2008.
“This, combined with the toxic cocktail of pollutants released, is why the ESG fought so hard during the 2000-2010 decade, at cross border level, for the tighter enforcement of EU environmental regulation of the major CEPSA Oil Refinery and other associated chemical industries.”
Last month, the Minister for the Environment, Dr John Cortes, outlined a motion pledging to make Gibraltar carbon neutral by 2030.
The motion also proposed the declaration of a “climate emergency” – an internationally recognized declaration now being used by institutions as a commitment to take “urgent action” and aspire towards carbon neutrality.
In its statement the ESG said pollution, produced as a by-product of using fossil fuels through the combustion process, is harmful to people and restated its call for best available technology and practice to be applied wherever fuel activity is carried out.
“Bold steps to reduce traffic numbers and by emission type must be applied, as has been launched this month in London,” the group said.
“The Minister for the Environment has mentioned offsetting some of our carbon impacts. Support and focus to steer us away from our present fossil fuel dependence must be the priority,” the ESG said.
Additionally, the group explained that it would like to see a legally binding time period applied to offsetting measures during the transition away from fossil fuel reliance and trade.
All political parties must agree to this commitment, it added.
“We believe political parties in Gibraltar should support the environmental targets that will improve quality of life and avoid the worst impacts climate change can bring.”
“Difficult decisions will also require the support of the public and business community. We know we must do a lot better and pull out all the stops to do our very best.”
“Anything less would be criminal and a moral let down to all generations that follow.”