Have you calculated your carbon footprint yet? 11 Latin American cities have already done so
25 January 2021
CE Noticias Financieras
The United Nations (UN) alert is clear: The earth is now 1.1 degrees Celsius (C) hotter than it was at the beginning of the industrial revolution. We are not on our way to meet the targets agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which stipulated keeping the increase in global temperature well below 2 degrees C or at 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.
To avoid warming above 1.5 degrees C, the world will have to reduce the production of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) through lower fossil fuel consumption by approximately 6% per annum between 2020 and 2030, among other actions. “Many governments are now moving in the right direction.
By early 2021, countries representing more than 65% of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70% of the world economy will have made ambitious commitments to carbon neutrality,” the UN says.
A study by two researchers at the Basque Centre for Climate Change, in which they analyzed the adaptation plans for 59 coastal cities, among the largest in the world, also draws attention: Cities are not adequately preparing to cope with the impacts of climate change.”
Adaptation plans are still in place, among other factors, because funding processes are not well defined, insufficient responsibilities are assigned, the regulatory nature of such policies and plans is quite scarce, knowledge on the impacts and risks of climate change is not adequately generated or used, and finally, the issues of equity and social justice are not yet well integrated” Marta Olazabal, co-author of the report, says.
Research shows that some cities have worked harder than others to design their adaptation plans. In this sense, the cases of Los Angeles and Baltimore (United States) stand out; Montevideo (Uruguay); Lisbon (Portugal) and Ulsan (South Korea). Among the policies that achieved the worst results of the analysis are those of Hong Kong and Shanghai (China), Sapporo (Japan), or Cape Town (South Africa).
To understand the scale of the problem and adopt the most efficient solutions, 11 Latin American cities calculated their carbon footprint, or GHG emission inventory, which is a quantitative indicator that reflects the impact that people, organizations, products, events, etc. have on climate change.
The analysis by sector shows that the Transport sector accounts on average for 46% of total emissions, followed by the Residential, Commercial, Institutional plus Waste sectors with 21% and finally the Industrial sector with 13%.
Analysis per capita shows that the cities of Santa Cruz de Galapagos (Ecuador), Guayaquil (Ecuador), Tarija (Bolivia), Quito (Ecuador) and Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) have above-average values, while Lima (Peru), Cali (Colombia), La Paz (Bolivia), Fortaleza (Brazil), Recife (Brazil) and Loja (Ecuador) have below average values for all these cities.”
Through the project “Project Footprint of Cities” we also measure the water footprint, which is a multidimensional indicator of appropriation (use, consumption and pollution) of freshwater resources, to encourage the inclusion of footprint indicators in the strategic planning of municipal governments and the definition of reduction targets and to identify green financing opportunities in cities, among others.
Action plans could be considered as potential investment portfolios for each city. Considering the implementation of the project in 11 phase I, II and III cities, it has been estimated that there is a reduction potential of more than 100 million tons of CO2 by 2032″, is stated in the report published by the Directorate of Sustainability, Inclusion and Climate Change of CAF – Development Bank of Latin America, leader of this initiative.
The calculation of the carbon footprint that each person produces can be calculated for free through various applications on mobile devices. The estimate of carbon footprint and water footprint in cities, allowed to identify 199 initiatives in carbon footprint reduction and 97 in water footprint jointly and in concert with municipal governments.
Among them are: Eco-efficient neighborhoods in La Paz; use of biogas in the Las Iguanas landfill in Guayaquil; the Green Corridor Phase III (Stage 1) project in Cali; the design and implementation of six decentralized wastewater treatment micro-plants in Tarija; and the reduction of the discharge of contaminated effluents into the Jiquiá River in Recife.
The project included the implementation of pilot projects with scalable and replicable potential in the context of the development of municipal climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in other Latin American cities. Implementing these or other initiatives for similar purposes will help combat global warming, promote carbon neutrality, and achieve more resilient cities for the benefit of all.
Nicolás Abrew, senior communication executive at CAF (*)
(*) Visions of Development is a section promoted by CAF – Development Bank of Latin America – that discusses the main development issues of the region. The articles it contains are published simultaneously in the main media in Latin America.
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